at New Jersey Nets (17-38) at Boston Celtics (39-14)
Wednesday, February 16
7:30 PM ET
Regular Season Game #54, Home Game #30
TV: CSNNE, YES, NBA-LP 754/755
TD Garden Probable Starters PG
Rajon Rondo.....Ray Allen ..... Paul Pierce.....Kevin Garnett..... Kendrick Perkins Boston Bench Mob
Avery Bradley Injured
Marquis Daniels (spine) out
Jermaine O'Neal (knee) out
Semih Erden (abductor) out
Shaquille O'Neal (Achilles) out
Paul Pierce (foot/hand) probable
Nate Robinson (knee) probable
Delonte West (wrist) questionable Probable Starters PG
Devin Harris.....Anthony Morrow.... Travis Outlaw.... Derrick Favors...Brook Lopez Nets Bench
Quentin Ross Injuries
Damion James (foot) out
Nets assistant coach Popeye Jones played for the Celtics from 1997-99
Damion James and Avery Bradley were teammates at Texas
Troy Murphy and Luke Harangody both attended Notre Dame
Devin Harris and Marquis Daniels were teammates in Dallas from 2004-06
Johan Petro and Ray Allen were teammates in Seattle from 2005-07
Kevin Garnett and Nets Assistant Coach Sam Mitchell were teammates in Minnesota from 1995-2002
Von Wafer and Travis Outlaw were teammates in Portland during the 2007-08 season
Shaquille O’Neal and Nets Assistant Coach Larry Krystkowiak were teammates on the Lakers during the 1996-97 season
Jermaine O’Neal played for Nets Assistant Coach Sam Mitchell during the 2008-09 season in Toronto
Jermaine O’Neal and Troy Murphy were teammates in Indiana from 2006-08Key Matchups
Kendrick Perkins vs Brook Lopez
One of the very few bright spots for the Nets in recent years has been the play of Brook Lopez, who is averaging 19.6 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game. Perk toughness and defense will be needed to keep Lopez from having a big game.
Rajon Rondo vs Devin Harris
Rondo is coming off a great game vs the Heat. His energy and aggressiveness are needed to keep the Celtics offense flowing and on track. The PG matchup will be a key both for keeping the Celtics offense moving and preventing Harris from getting the Nets into their offense. Game Notes
This is a very dangerous game. This is the final game before the All Star break. The Celtics are coming off a big emotional win over the Heat. And, the Nets are a sub .500 team that the Celtics may take for granted. They also have enough talent to put up a fight should the Celtics come in and give them an opening.
This is the 3rd meeting between these two division rivals. The Celtics won the first game by 6 in Boston and the second by 25 in New Jersey. The Celtics are still banged up. They still have no back up center and Paul Pierce plans to play with the bruised foot and hand that made him ineffective vs the Heat. The Celtics may or may not get a boost from Delonte West's return. He was scheduled to return for this game but was injured during practice on Tuesday and is now questionable for this game. The Nets are at full strength.
The Celtics are coming off an emotional win over the Heat while the Nets are coming off a blow out loss at the hands of the Spurs. The Celtics are 6-4 in their last 10 games and 24-5 at home. The Nets are 4-6 in their last 10 games and 4-24 on the road.
The Celtics need to come out determined to win this one and go into the break on a winning note or this could easily be a trap game. It would be great if they could come out strong and put the game away early so that the starters, especially Pierce, could get some extra rest. If they take this game too lightly and let the Nets gain confidence, they may lose the EC lead that they fought so hard against the Heat to gain.
Keys to the GameFocus
- The Celtics must be focused on this game and not look past the Nets. They fought hard vs the Heat to retake the lead in the Eastern Conference and it would be a shame to let that slip away by taking this game too lightly. Defense
- The key to every win is defense. The Celtics have got to put out the effort on the defensive end and when the defense is on track, that fuels the offense. Rebound
- Rebounding is another big key to getting a win. The Celtics must put out the effort on the boards to prevent second chance baskets and put backs from the Nets. Play 48 Minutes
- The Celtics must come out strong and play 48 minutes. They should not give the Nets any confidence that they can win. X-Factors
Trap Game and Home Court
The Celtics have the home crowd behind them and they need to feed off the energy from the crowd to play hard and get the win. Focus will be key here as if they remain focused they should get an easy win but if they lose focus and allow the Nets to stay in it, it could be a tough fight to the end.