at Boston Celtics (34-25) at New Jersey Nets (22-39)
Saturday, April 14
7:30 PM ET
Regular Season Game #60, Road Game #30
TV: CSNNE, YES, NBA-LP 755(BOS)/756(NJN)
Radio: WEEI, WFAN
[Probable Starters PG
Rajon Rondo....Avery Bradley.....Paul Pierce....Brandon Bass....Kevin Garnett Boston Reserves
Mickael Pietrus Injured
Jermaine O'Neal (wrist) out
Ray Allen (ankle) outProbable Starters PG
Deron Williams.....Marshon Brooks .... DeShawn Stevenson.... Kris Humphries ....Shelden Williams New Jersey Reserves
Gerald Wallace (hamstring) questionable
Brook Lopez (ankle) out
Jordan Farmar (ankle) out
Damion James (foot) out Game Notes
This is the 3rd and final meeting between these two division rivals. What at one time was a heated rivalry between these two teams is now a game between two teams going in opposite directions. The Celtics are 2-0 this season vs Nets, winning both games at the Garden.
Both teams are playing in back to back games. The Celtics played the Raptors in Toronto on Friday and although I hate to say it, were completely outplayed by the Raptors. The Nets played the Sixers in Philadelphia and somehow pulled out a win. Both teams also had to travel, although the trip from Philly to New Jersey is much shorter than from Toronto to New Jersey.
The Nets are out of the playoffs, obviously and the Celtics are still battling to stay in the 4th spot and to get home court in the first round. The Nets are playing for Ping pong balls and are 11th in the East currently. However, like the Raptors, they would set aside their quest for draft position if they could get a win over their hated rivals, the Celtics.
The Celtics are now 3 games behind the Pacers for the 3rd seed and with Atlanta's win on Friday, they move a game behind Atlanta for home court in the first round. The remain tied with Orlando 3 games ahead of New York.
Doc admitted that part of the problem was that he went away from his normal substitutions in the first half and that threw the chemistry off. But that doesn't explain future Hall of Famers who can't hit a shot or defend a bunch of D-Leaguers. Hopefully the Celtics will put out a bit more effort and be more focused in this one or they could end up with 2 losses in a row to bottom feeding teams.
The Celtics are 7-3 in their last 10 games while the Nets are 6-4 in their last 10. The Celtics are 13-16 on the road while the Nets are just 9-20 at home. They actually have a better road record than home record (13-18 on the road). The Celtics need to come in focused and play their game because there is no way they should lose to the Raptors and the Nets after beating the Heat and Hawks back to back. 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 in the past. Rondo needs to be aggressive and set the tempo for the game. He also needs to be aggressive on defense to keep Williams from having a big game.
Kevin Garnett vs Shelden Williams
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. Honorable Mention
Avery Bradley vs MarShon Brooks
Many Celtics fans have kept an eye on Brooks, who was the Celtics draft choice in the 2011 draft and then traded for JaJuan Johnson, especially since Johnson has yet to see any meaningful playing time and Brooks is starting for the Nets. Avery has been playing very well for the Celtics and it will be interesting to watch this matchup.
Keys to the GameFocus
- The Celtics must come out focused and stay focused for 48 minutes. They can't take this team for granted since even the worst teams in the league get up to play the Celtics. They will put their tanking efforts on hold for the privilege of beating the Celtics. Defense
- The key to every win is defense. The Celtics tough lock down defense gives them a chance to win every game. And when the defense is clicking, that fuels the offense. The Nets aren't a high scoring team (93 ppg) so if the Celtics come out with their normal defensive intensity, they should get an easy win. 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. The Nets are not a great rebounding team (26th) so if the Celtics put out some energy to crash the boards they should be fine. X-Factors
Fatigue and Level of Competition
This is the 4th game in 5 nights for the Celtics and the second of a back to back to back set. Along with the back to back games they also have travel. They looked totally out of it against the Raptors so hopefully they can find some energy and focus somewhere if they want to get a win. The Nets are not that tough a team and if the Celtics put out any kind of effort at all, they should get the win. But then again, neither were the Raptors.