The Nets are looking to win four games in a row after losing to the Golden State Warriors last Wednesday. But in order to do so, it will need a complete effort against a Celtics team that will fight hard.
Rajon Rondo vs. Deron Williams
The last time the Nets and Celtics squared off was back on Nov. 15 at Barclays Center. Rajon Rondo missed the game in order to nurse an ankle injury and the Celtics obviously missed him. Rondo is currently leading the league in assists per game, averaging an astonishing 13.7 dimes per contest. He's one of the better passers in the league and is a handful. The biggest concern that the Nets have with him will be stopping him from scoring in the paint, where his oversized hands and tricky feet help him finish consistently.
Williams, on the other hand, is coming off of a 14 assist game against the Knicks and, though he struggled to shoot the ball, did a good job of commanding the game. The recipe for success for the Nets is balanced scoring, so if Williams is able to keep his teammates involved, the Nets should compete.
The Nets are 7-1 at home, but on the road, they have struggled. Energy is often lacking and that is evidence by the 2-3 road record thus far. The Nets are the fourth best home team in the NBA, while the Celtics are just 4-3.
Earlier today, Moke Hamilton said that in order to be taken seriously in the NBA's Eastern Conference, the Nets need to win in Boston tonight. Good teams win at home, great teams win on the road.
We'll get a good idea of where the Nets are as a team, tonight.
The Celtics rotation lacks a true center. Brook Lopez has been getting a lot of attention for his great play as of late and he's coming off of a very impressive 22 point, 11 rebound, five block effort against reigning NBA Defensive Player of the Year, the Knicks' Tyson Chandler.
The Celtics don't have a player with Chandler's size, but its platoon of big men—Kevin Garnett, Brandon Bass, Chris Wilcox, Jared Sullinger, and Jason Collins—will ensure that Lopez gets a lot of different matchups, and perhaps a lot of fouls called in his favor.
If Lopez can continue to make hay, he can help the Nets escape Beantown with a win.
Doc Rivers is considered by many to be one of the best Xs and Os coaches in the league and a master of game planning. It'll be interesting to see how Avery Johnson matches up with him tonight from a coaching standpoint.
The action tips off at 7:30 P.M. on the YES Network.