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Preview: Boston Celtics vs. Philadelphia 76ers

On Tuesday night the Boston Celtics [1] (26-2) will take on the Philadelphia 76ers [2] (12-15) at the TD BankNorth Garden [3]. The Celtics enter the game on an 18-game winning streak and could break the franchise mark for consecutive wins with a victory over the Sixers. They also have the chance to set a new NBA record for best start with two losses.

The Big Three + Two
The impressive play by Rajon Rondo [4] and Kendrick Perkins [5] is making headlines nationwide, from ESPN.com features on Rondo to CBS Sports plugs for Perk as a fantasy basketball must-have. So just how well have these two young starters been playing as of late? Let’s take a look at the last five games …

17 blocked shots (T-4 NBA): ahead of Dwight Howard [6], Tim Duncan [7], and Yao Ming [8]
13.8 PPG: ahead of centers Andrew Bynum [9], Tyson Chandler [10], and Andrew Bogut [11]
11.4 RPG: ahead of Chris Bosh, Shaquille O’Neal [12], and Zach Randolph [13], tied fourth among all centers with Al Jefferson [14]

16.0 PPG: ahead of Andre Iguodala [15], Baron Davis [16], and Manu Ginobili [17]
7.4 APG: ahead of Chauncey Billups [18], Jason Kidd [19], and Tony Parker [20]
6.4 RPG: ahead of Kobe Bryant [21], Brandon Roy [22], and Dwyane Wade [23]

Injury Update
The Celtics bench will be one-man short for the second game in a row. Glen ‘€œBig Baby’€ Davis will sit out with a concussion and cervical strain sustained in a car accident on Sunday. Davis is listed as day-to-day. The 76ers will be without starting forward Elton Brand, who is sidelined at least a month with a dislocated shoulder. Last season, before acquiring Brand, the Sixers stifled the Celtics with their running game. Their post-game failed miserably this season against the Cs but the absence of Brand may allow them to get out and go, which could pose a challenge. Sixers guard Willie Green (ankle) is also day-to-day.

Making Enemies Early
Marreese Speights made a rookie mistake by losing his poise late in the Celtics 102-78 win back in November. The big man was ejected with 43 seconds left for committing a flagrant foul against Brian Scalabrine [24]. Don’t be surprised if Speights is booed for messing with Scal.

In the Last Five Games …
Celtics: 106.4 PPG, +12.2 differential, 53.5% FG, 41.8% 3PG, 71.2% FT, 24.2 APG, 45.0 RPG, 8.4 SPG
76ers: 94.4 PPG, +1.8 differential, 46.8% FG, 26.2% 3PG, 76.3% FT, 20.6 APG, 42.0 RPG, 7.6 SPG

Check back with WEEI’s Celtics Game Day Blog [25] for all the action from the TD BankNorth Garden.