The Western Conference leading Spurs entering the matchup a night after losing to the Knicks in New York, 126-115.
Kevin Garnett will once again be unavailable Wednesday night for the Celtics as he continues to nurse a calf injury he sustained last week. With Garnett not on the court, the Celtics allowed Timberwolves forward Kevin Love to grab 24 rebounds against the undersized Glen Davis.
Paul Pierce will look to continue his read hot play after scoring 23 points Monday night in Boston's 96-93 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves. With Rajon Rondo still getting back into the groove, and Garnett out, Pierce has had to step up his play and has responded with two consecutive games with at least 20 points.
Like Pierce, Ray Allen has stepped up for the injured Celtics, scoring 20 points Monday night and shooting 12-of-21 from three in his last five games. Allen has averaged nearly 20 points a game since Garnett's injury.
Rajon Rondo will be playing in his third game since coming back from his ankle injury. Rondo was like his old self Monday night with 16 assists and two key baskets in the Celtics fourth quarter comeback. Rondo's return has taken a lot of pressure off of Pierce to be the Celtics primary assist option, and has created more shooting opportunities for Boston.
Having Rondo back in the lineup benefited no one more than Pierce Monday night. Celtics coach Doc Rivers explains:
"I thought Paul in the first half tried way too hard to get everybody else involved," Rivers said of his captain, who leads the team at 19.0 points per game. "And I told him that at halftime. I said, ‘Paul, you no longer have to be the play maker. We need you to be the aggressive scorer.’ And even he, right after the game he walked up to me and it was the first thing he said was, ‘Ah, gosh, I was, I was way too passive.’
The Celtics will be facing Spurs guard Manu Ginobili at the right time -- he has only averaged about 13.8 points per game in his last five games, including a horrendous shooting performance against the Oklahoma City Thunder where he was just 2-of-11 from the field.
The Spurs and Celtics tip-off at 7:30 p.m. EST at the TD Garden