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NBA Preview from The Sports Network



Tuesday, December 23rd (All times eastern)

Philadelphia 76ers (12-15) at Boston Celtics (26-2), 7:30 p.m.

(Sports Network) - Celtics executive director of basketball operations and general manager Danny Ainge probably hasn't stopped smiling since watching his creation win the NBA title over the summer.

Ainge pulled all the strings to get Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen in Beantown to play alongside star Paul Pierce, and the moves have paid huge dividends. Tonight defending champion Boston will shoot for a franchise-record 19 straight wins when they welcome the Philadelphia 76ers to TD Banknorth Garden.

The Celtics are 2-0 so far on a three-game homestand and improved to 16-1 as the host following Sunday's 124-105 victory over the New York Knicks. Rajon Rondo scored 26 points and handed out five assists for the C's, whose current winning streak is the longest since a 22-game run by Houston last season. The win also helped Boston match the best 28-game start in NBA history, equaling the 1966-67 76ers and the 1969-70 Knicks, both of which started 26-2 en route to NBA championships. Both the '66-67 Sixers and the '69-70 Knicks lost their 29th game -- the Sixers ironically to the Celtics.

Allen and Pierce scored 18 and 17, respectively, in the win over New York. The last time Boston suffered defeat was a 94-85 home loss to the Denver Nuggets on November 14. That was the last time the Celtics lost in Beantown.

Philadelphia will kick off a six-game road trip Tuesday against Boston, Denver, Utah, the Los Angeles Clippers, Dallas and San Antonio, and is 5-7 as the visitor in 2008-09.

The Sixers had a three-game winning streak halted and lost for the first time under interim head coach Tony DiLeo after Saturday's tough 95-94 setback to the Indiana Pacers at the Wachovia Center. Andre Iguodala had a game-high 26 points, six rebounds and six assists but missed a potential game-winning runner in the lane at the buzzer.

Andre Miller posted his eighth career triple-double with 14 points, 12 assists and 10 boards, as the shorthanded Sixers fell to 3-1 in the DiLeo era.

Philly, which is already without forward Elton Brand for a few weeks because of a shoulder injury, may not have guard Willie Green in the lineup tonight due to an ankle issue. Green is listed as questionable for Tuesday.

Boston posted a 102-78 demolition of the 76ers on November 28 this season and has won four of the last five matchups. Philadelphia is 3-2 in its last five trips to TD Banknorth Garden.

12/23 12:01:32 ET


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