at Brooklyn Nets (9-4) at Boston Celtics (8-6)
Wednesday, November 28, 2012
7:30 PM ET
Regular Season Game #15, Home Game #8
TV: CSNNE, YES, NBA-LP 754/755
Radio: WEEI, WFAN
TD Garden Probable Starters
PG: Rajon Rondo
SG: Jason Terry
SF: Paul Pierce
PF: Brandon Bass
C: Kevin Garnett
Avery Bradley (shoulders) out
Kris JosephProbable Starters
PG: Deron Williams
SG: Joe Johnson
SF: Gerald Wallace
PF: Kris Humphries
C: Brook Lopez Nets Reserves
Keith Bogans Injuries
Tornike Shengelia (thumb) questionable
This is the second of 4 meetings between these two division rivals. The Nets came out ahead in the first game 102-97 at the new Barclays Center, ending the Celtics 3 game win streak. Rondo was out for that game with a sprained ankle. These two teams split a pair of preseason games with the Nets winning 97-96 at the Garden and the Celtics winning 115-85 in their very first ever trip to the Barclays Center.
The Nets are in first place in the Atlantic division and in 2nd place in the Eastern Conference, 1 game behind Miami. This is the latest in the season that the Nets have been in first place in the Atlantic Division since 1/30/2007 when they were 22-23 and in first place. The Celtics are in 4th place in the division and in 7th place in the Conference, 2.5 games behind Miami.
The Nets have won 3 in a row, all of which were at home. They have struggled on the road, however, with a 2-3 record away from the Barclays Center. Their two wins came against the Magic and Kings and their losses were against The Warriors, Heat, and Lakers. The Celtics are 4-3 at home and need to make a concerted effort to make the Garden a place teams don't want to come to.
The Nets are coming off an emotional overtime win at home over the Knicks in the battle for New York. The Celtics are also coming off an overtime win as the beat the Magic on the road. One of the stories of this game will be Rondo's assist numbers. If he records 10+ assists in this game, he will be in sole possession of 2nd place, passing John Stockton for the most consecutive games with double digit assists. Key Matchups
Rajon Rondo vs Deron Williams
Rondo loves playing against the other top PG's in the league. Rondo missed the first meeting between these two teams and Williams led the Nets with 24 points. Look for Rondo to pass early and often as he looks to keep his assist streak going.
Jason Terry vs Joe Johnson
In the first meeting between these two teams, Johnson was 6-17 from the field for 19 points and he hit two huge shots down the stretch to give the Nets the win. JET will have to pick up his defensive intensity to keep Johnson from going off in this game. At the same time, the Celtics will need Jason to find his shot and contribute on the offensive end as well. Honorable Mention
Kevin Garnett vs Brook Lopez
Lopez has been playing very well, averaging 19.2 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 2.7 blocks per game. In the first meeting between these two teams he went off for 10 points in the first quarter, getting the Nets off to a quick start. He finished with 24 points. This would be a good time for Jason Collins to see some time to defend Lopez if he starts to go off again in this game. Darko would be nice, but that bridge has been burned.
Keys to the Game Defense
- The Celtics need to continue to tighten up their defense, especially in transition and on the pick and roll. Tuesday's practice was all about defending the pick and roll. The Nets have been tough on defense, holding teams to 91 points per game (1st in the league) The Celtics are 22nd, allowing 100.1 points per game. The Celtics have to tighten up their defense as it is their defense that is going to set them apart from the rest of the league. Bench Play
- The Celtics need their reserves to continue to find their chemistry and to produce. The reserves have been big in the past two games but the Nets second unit has been outscoring their counterparts by 10.1 points per game. The Celtics reserves must contribute on both ends of the court if they want to win this game. Rebound
- The Celtics need to crash the boards in order to limit New Jersey's fast break points and second chance points. Bot Reggie Evans and Brook Lopez have been big on the boards this season. The Celtics are still last in the league in rebounding, but they came up big against the Magic, behind Sully and Bass. We need to see a strong effort from every player on the team. When they put out the effort to win the battle of the boards, that often translates to the rest of their game. Be Aggressive
- The Celtics must be the more aggressive team. They have be aggressive in going to the basket and not settle for jumpers. They have to be aggressive on defense and in going after rebounds and loose balls. The more aggressive team will usually get to the line more and will more often than not get the win. X-Factor
The Celtics are playing at home where they have vowed to make it difficult for other teams to play. The Nets have struggled on the road this season, especially against the better teams. The Celtics need to take advantage of this and come out strong and play hard for 48 minutes with the crowd behind them.