at Boston Celtics (47-17) at New Jersey Nets (20-43)
Monday, March 14
7:00 PM ET
Regular Season Game #65, Road Game #31
TV: CSNNE, YES, SNET1, NBA-LP 751/752
Prudential CenterProbable Starters PG
Rajon Rondo.....Ray Allen ..... Paul Pierce.....Kevin Garnett..... Nenad KrsticBoston Bench Mob
Shaquille O'Neal (knee) out
Jermaine O'Neal (knee) out
Delonte West (wrist) doubtful
Von Wafer (calf) out Probable Starters PG
Deron Williams.....Anthony Morrow.... Sasha Vujacic.... Kris Humphries...Brook Lopez Nets Bench
Brandon Wright Injuries
Damion James (foot) out
Quinton Ross (back) out
Deron Williams (personal) probable
Nets assistant coach Popeye Jones played for the Celtics from 1997‐99
Damion James and Avery Bradley were teammates at Texas... 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
Kris Humphires and Carlos Arroyo were teammates in Utah during the 2004‐05 season
Troy Murphy played for the Nets at the beginning of this season
Troy Murphy was teammates with Nets Head Coach Avery Johnson in Golden State during the 2003‐04 season
Troy Murphy and Stephen Graham were teammates in Indiana from 2007‐09
Nenad Krstic played for the Nets from 2004‐08..
Celtics Assistant Coach Lawrence Frank was the Head Coach of the Nets from 2003‐2009
Nenad Krstic and Jeff Green were teammates with Johan Petro in Oklahoma City from 2008‐09
Sasha Pavlovic and Stephen Graham were teammates in Cleveland during the 2005‐06 season.Game Notes
This is the 4th and final meeting between these two division rivals. The Celtics won the first 3 games 89-83, 100-75, and 94-80. All 3 meetings were before the trade deadline and both teams changed considerably at that point. The Nets new point guard has been away from the team for personal reasons but is expected to practice on Sunday and play against the Celtics on Monday. Williams' presence has given the Nets new hope of making the playoffs. They are just 5.5 games out of 8th place and are making a push having won their last 4 games.
The Celtics have struggled somewhat to find their rhythm and chemistry since the trades that brought in 5 new players. They are hoping to get some help as players return from injury and make a push of their own for the top seed in the East but Chicago is right there with them and if the Celtics stumble, the Bulls are ready to charge. Big Baby's return was a big success on Sunday. Delonte is expected to make his return on Wednesday.
The Celtics are playing in the second of back to back games while the Nets have been off since Friday. The Celtics starters were able to get rest in the 4th quarter and no starter played more than 31 minutes. In their last 10 games, the Celtics are 7-3 and the Nets are 4-6. The Nets are 16-16 at home while the Celtics are 19-11 on the road. The Nets are on a 4 game win streak after losing their previous 6. The Celtics bounced back to win their last game after losing 2 in a row.
If the Celtics come out with the same intensity they had when facing the Bucks, there is no doubt that they will be able to get a win in this game. Key Matchups
Rajon Rondo vs Deron Williams
Rondo usually gets up for the top PG's in the league and has had some good battles with Williams when he was with the Jazz. Rondo has been slumping somewhat in recent games and so hopefully this matchup will be good for what ails him and will get him back on the right track.
Paul Pierce vs Sasha Vujacic
This should be a mismatch in the Celtics favor and Pierce should be able to score at will against Vujacic if he puts any effort into it at all. Honorable Mention
Nenad Krstic vs Brook Lopez
Lopez is a good young center and has some strong moves around the basket. Krstic has been a pleasant surprise so far on offense and with his rebounding. Hopefully Krstic is picking up the Celtics defensive schemes or Lopez may have a big night.
Keys to the GameFocus
- The Celtics must come out focused and stay focused for 48 minutes. They can't take this team for granted as they are much better with Williams at the helm and have been playing very well lately. The Celtics have to come out strong and play hard the entire game. No slow starts or let downs. 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. They had been struggling on the defensive end but seem to have rediscovered their intensity on that end against the Bucks. They need to come out with the same intensity against the Nets. 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. Krstic will need to box out Lopez who is very good at getting tip ins.
Move the Ball
- The Celtics need to move the ball and make the extra pass. When they hold the ball too much and try to do too much they struggle but when they move the ball and trust each other, they are tough to beat. X-Factors
Fatigue and Chemistry
The starters were playing way too many minutes after the trade between injuries and working in new players. With the new players getting more familiar with the system and the injured players beginning to return, hopefully Doc can get the starters some rest but for now they will need to play through the fatigue and still show energy and hustle on the court. The limited minutes they got against the Bucks should help with fatigue in this game. They also must continue to build chemistry between the new and the old and the returning players.