at New Jersey Nets (11-25) at Boston Celtics (17-17)
Friday, March 2
7:30 PM ET
Regular Season Game #35, Home Game #21
TV: CSNNE, YES, NBA-LP 752/753
Radio WEEI, WBBR
TD Garden Probable Starters PG
Rajon Rondo....Ray Allen.....Paul Pierce....Brandon Bass....Kevin Garnett Boston Reserves
Mickael Pietrus Injured
Jermaine O'Neal (wrist) out Probable Starters PG
Deron Williams.....Marshon Brooks .... DeShawn Stevenson.... Kris Humphries ....Brook LopezNew Jersey Reserves
Jordan Williams Injuries
Mehmet Okur (back) out
Shawne Williams (shoulder) out
Jordan Farmar (groin) game time decision
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
Johan Petro and Ray Allen were teammates in Seattle from 2005‐07
MarShon Brooks and JaJuan Johnson were traded for each other at the 2011 NBA Draft
Jordan Williams and Chris Wilcox both attended the University of Maryland
Shelden Williams played for the Celtics during the 2009‐10 season
Keyon Dooling played for New Jersey from 2008‐10
Shawne Williams and Brandon Bass were teammates in Dallas during the 2008‐09 season.Key Matchups
Kevin Garnett vs Brook Lopez
Kevin Garnett has been playing very well in the past two games since the break. He will be facing a very good young center in Brook Lopez, who has been one of the bright spots for New Jersey over the past couple of years. KG needs to be aggressive on both ends of the court to win this matchup.
Rajon Rondo vs Deron Williams
Rondo is coming off a triple double but Deron Williams won't be quite as easy a match up as Brandon Jennings was. Rondo will need to keep his head in the game against Williams. Honorable Mention
Ray Allen vs MarShon Brooks
On draft night, Danny picked Providence College's MarShon Brooks and most Celtics fans were happy with the pick, but a couple picks later he traded Brooks for JaJuan Johnson. Brooks is in the running for rookie of the year and has moved into the starting lineup for the Nets. Hopefully Ray will have a big night and end a few of the "what if's" about the trade. Game Notes
The Celtics have clawed their way back to .500 and face a Nets team that is just 11-25. It would be easy to overlook them but the Celtics haven't played well enough in their two wins since the break to overlook any team. And Deron Williams delights in having his best games against the better point guards.
The Nets are struggling with injuries and have 4 rotation players out. The Celtics are as healthy as they've been all season with only Jermaine O'Neal on the injured list. The Celtics are 1-0 on the season so far with an 89-70 win in the Garden in January. They will face each other one more time in New Jersey in April.
The Nets are one of the worst shooting teams in the NBA, ranking 25th in scoring at 92.5 ppg. Strangely, the Celtics are an even worse scoring team, being ranked 26th in scoring at 89.7 ppg. However, the Celtics are ranked 6th in FG% at 45.5 while the Nets are Both teams turn the ball over at 15.56 per game. Neither team is a great rebounding team with the Celtics coming in 30th at 39.2 rpg while the Nets are 29th with 39.8 rpg.
The Celtics need to make a statement in this game. They are putting things together for the stretch run and if they are going to hope to be contenders this season, they must begin now to prove it.
Keys to the GameDefense
- 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. The Celtics are 0-3 when allowing teams to reach 100 points. They absolutely must lock down on defense if they want to win, especially since they they have been struggling to score. Rebound
- Rebounding is a 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. The Celtics must make an effort to rebound as a team and box out the Nets to keep them off the boards. Play 48 Minutes
- The Celtics must come out strong and make a statement early. They shouldn't give the Nets any hope that they could win this game. They also have to play hard for 48 minutes. They have given up big leads in both games so far since the break and they have to get away from that trend.
- The Celtics must be the more aggressive team. They have to hustle after loose balls and rebounds. They have to be aggressive in going to the basket and not just settling for jumpers. The Celtics can't let the Nets out-hustle them. X-Factors
Home Court and Energy
The Celtics are in the midst of their last home stand of the season and face a lot of team on the road the rest of the way. They said that they want to establish more of a home dominance and so they need to follow through with that and take advantage of the home crowd in this one. They also have to play with energy. Going through the motions won't get it done.