With their Eastern Conference rivals the Orlando Magic out of the way, the Celtics will try to avoid a letdown in the second game of a back-to-back against the homestanding Charlotte Bobcats Monday night. The Celts have beaten Charlotte six straight times, including twice so far this year, and in 18 of 23 meetings since the city got its second franchise for the 2004-2005 season.
For the Green, the primary focus will be on Ray Allen, who hit a pair of three-pointers Sunday against the Magic and is now just three away from tying Reggie Miller for the league's all-time record. Allen currently stands fourth in the league in three-point percentage, nailing them at a 45.7 percent clip. If he maintains that success rate, it will be the best of his career, topping the 43.4 percent mark he registered as a member of the Milwaukee Bucks in the 2001-2002 season.
The Celtics will also be playing their fist game without Marquis Daniels, who was taken to New England Baptist Hospital on a stretcher with a spinal cord injury during yesterday's game. Daniels injury doesn't appear too serious, as he has full range of motion in all of his extremities, but Celtics team president of basketball operations Danny Ainge announced yesterday that the veteran swingman will be out anywhere from 1-2 months.
For the Bobcats, they will be looking to break a two-game losing streak as well as avoid dropping their sixth game in their last seven. Charlotte is 12-10 under interim head coach Paul Silas, who replaced Larry Brown on Dec. 22. The Bobcats are 8-0 when they score over 100 points since Dec. 1, but just 7-18 when they don't break the century mark in that time. Point guard D.J. Augustin has made a big leap since last year, increasing his scoring average from 6.4 to 14.9 points per game while also posting 6.3 assists a night. Small forward Stephen Jackson is Charlotte's leading scorer, averaging just under 19 PPG.
The Celtics (38-12) visit the Bobcats (21-29) at Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, N.C., Monday at 7 p.m. EST, on Comcast Sports Net New England.