ORLANDO, Fla. The Boston Celtics face the Orlando Magic for the second time in four days, the kind of home-and-home matchup you see in the playoffs. That's why the C's, who easily defeated Orlando 87-56 on Monday, are approaching tonight's game as if it is a playoff matchup.
"You have to look at it like that," C's guard Mickael Pietrus told CSNNE.com. "We beat them pretty bad in Boston a few days ago. I know they'll be really pumped up for us. And we're ready."
Former Celtic and current backup Magic forward Glen Davis makes no secret about how important tonight's game is to him.
"This is a must-win for me," Davis said. "I don't know about the team. It's a must-win for us. Personally, I want to win. I gotta win."
The outcome of tonight's game will hinge on several factors.
Here are a few to keep an eye on:
WHAT TO LOOK FOR - Boston's pressure defense not only took Jameer Nelson totally out of his game, but it also generated 25 turnovers which led to 24 points for the Celtics. Avery Bradley, who will start again for an injured Rajon Rondo, was the key to Boston's defensive success on Monday. Magic coach Stan Van Gundy praised Bradley for his defensive prowess leading up to tonight's game.
"It's generally those guys who don't have to play 3,000 minutes in a year who can come in and use that energy," Van Gundy said. "So you're not used to seeing it a lot. You might see it a possession or two, but that full-game thing I give him (Bradley) a lot of credit. It's the best job of anybody doing it, I've seen in a lot of years in this league."
MATCHUP TO WATCH - Kevin Garnett vs. Dwight Howard: With Jermaine O'Neal (left knee) out, Garnett will begin tonight's game attempting to guard Howard. Garnett's ability to hold Howard in check will likely come at the cost of him scoring as much. But the C's know all too well, that's the price you have to pay if you plan on beating the Magic.
PLAYER TO WATCH - Ryan Anderson: The Celtics held him to zero points in more than 23 minutes of action on Monday. Look for Anderson to play significantly better than that tonight, especially with him beginning the game matched up with Brandon Bass instead of Garnett.
STAT TO TRACK - Points off turnovers is an area that the Celtics are improving in, and it was one of the main reasons why they easily defeated Orlando when the two played on Monday. If the C's can continue to cash in on Orlando's mistakes, the Celtics will be well positioned to hand the Magic another loss.