It's actually the second time this season that the Nets and Clippers have squared off, as the Clippers defeated the Nets at the Staples Center back on November 16. However, Pierce and Garnett did not play in that game, (and neither did Deron Williams and Brook Lopez, among others) in a game where the Nets' reserves played respectably against L.A.'s full squad, with the Clippers ultimately winning 110-103.
It's been a week of reunions for Pierce, Garnett and Rivers, as the Nets played the Celtics on Tuesday, and the Clippers played Boston the very next day. The ex-Celtics players and coach were all successful, as Boston dropped both games. Now, they get to face each other, with the Nets playing as good as they have all season.
Offensively, the Clippers are led by All-Stars Chris Paul and Blake Griffin. Griffin leads the team in scoring at 20.6 points per game, while Paul is second at 18.9 PPG, and he leads the NBA at 11.9 assists per game.
Key Matchup: Deron Williams returned to the Nets lineup with a bang Tuesday, and tonight he matches up with Chris Paul in what will be the 20th head-to-head matchup between the two All-Star point guards.
Williams and Paul were drafted with the third and fourth overall picks of the 2005 NBA Draft, respectively, and it's always been a friendly but fierce rivalry between the two stars, with D-Will's teams coming out ahead of CP3's in 14 of the 19 matchups.
Paul had a double-double in the Clippers' win over the Nets in November, as Shaun Livingston did an admirable job defending the 6'0 Paul with his height advantage. Nevertheless, CP3 came up clutch in the fourth quarter in that game, and tonight he'll have to match up with Deron Williams, who's always seemed to have his number.
Player to Watch: Brook Lopez has been on fire lately, as the big man has scored a combined 56 points on 21-of-26 (80.8%) shooting over the last two games, as he's been a big part of the Nets winning back-to-back games for the first time this season.
Lopez will try to keep that dominance in the paint going against a formidable Clippers front court that includes Griffin and DeAndre Jordan. L.A. is one of the few teams in the NBA that has the personnel to keep Lopez from scoring at will. At least, in theory.