-- Welcome to the Garden where the Celtics are preparing to take on the defending Eastern Conference champion Orlando Magic.
The locker rooms open up at 6:30 p.m., but in the meantime, here are some some quick notes about the two teams who split their four regular-season meetings last year (2-2).
The Celtics, led by Paul Pierce who is averaging a team-high 18.4 points per game, are 5-2 at home this season. He is on pace to lead the team in points for the 10th consecutive season.
Pierce averaged a team-high 23.3 points against the Magic during the regular season last year.
The Celtics are third in the NBA with 104 steals.
Rajon Rondo is averaging career highs in assists per game (9.0) and steals per game (2.6).
Kendrick Perkins is shooting 50-for-88 (56.8 percent) from the floor this season and is averaging 10.5 points and 7.1 rebounds per game.
Ray Allen is averaging 19.9 points per game against the Magic in his career.
Orlando is 7-2 against Eastern Conference opponents this season.
The Magic have attempted the most 3-pointers in the NBA, 317.
Dwight Howard is shooting 66.7 percent from the floor, by far the best in the NBA. He led the Magic against the Celtics last season, averaging 16.8 points, 15.5 rebounds and 4.0 blocks.
Vince Carter is 21-for-48 (43.8 percent) from the three-point line this season, and is averaging 17.1 points and 3.9 rebounds per game.
Marcin Gortat has 14 blocks this season.
Mickael Pietrus is on pace for a career high in minutes per game (30.5).
Jason Williams will start for the injured Jameer Nelson.
Here is what the Celtics had to say about the Magic at practice yesterday.
"They're the team everybody's chasing in the East,'' Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. "They won the championship of the East last year. As far as we're concerned, they're the favorite and Cleveland's the second favorite and we're the third - going by the results of last year. So, it will be good to see where we're at.''
"It's definitely a big game for us," Pierce said. "Just try and make a statement against one of the better teams in the Eastern Conference. You're talking about a team that's going to be there in the end, one of the best records in the league. So, we're playing for home-court advantage and this is a team that we have to beat.''
"Their record says they're one of the best teams," Garnett said. "They're deep, they're very deep. People are not really talking about their depth, but the onus is on us. This should be a good test for us.''
Kendrick Perkins said: "It's just another playoff team we might have to go through to get where we're trying to go, so I think it's going to be a great test. They beat us in Game 7 at our house, actually I think they blew us out [101-82]. They were Eastern Conference champions so we've got to get that back, so we've got something to prove.''