Preseason Game #5 – Road Game #3
East Rutherford, NJ
Thursday, October 16, 2008
7:30 PM ET
TV: CSN, YES
The Celtics take on the completely revamped New Jersey Nets tonight at the Izod Center. The Nets have changed as much as any team over the past season. They broke up their starting lineup and Jason Kidd and Richard Jefferson are gone and only Vince Carter remains as a cornerstone of this franchise. They have gone into full rebuilding mode and are hoping to hit the jackpot with one of the big free agents in the 2009-10 off season. Because of this, they aren't expected to win a lot of games this season.
However, they are a surprising 2-0 so far in this preseason. The Nets swept their 2 game series with the Heat during NBA Europe Live. They played in Paris and then in London. Just as with the Celtics' wins, the games have been close with each of the Nets wins coming by just 2 points.
It is always a good thing to try to beat division rivals, even when the games don't really count. It gives a certain psychological edge to the winners going into the season. Just as we have seen with the Celtics' first 4 preseason games, every team will have it out for the Celtics this season and I expect New Jersey to be no different. Expect the game to be physical and for the Nets to give the Celtics their best shot. The Celtics have a target on their backs and tonight the Nets will be aiming for it.
Bill Walker Bill Williams sat out the last game with soreness in his knee, but was impressive in the first 3 games. He is definitely fun to watch and if he plays, it will be interesting to see if he continues his aggressive play.
Darius Miles Darius is still on the bubble and needs to show that he can play and that he will fit on this team. He has shown some good things, but also still looks very rusty.
Brook Lopez Lopez got the start in the Nets' last game and had 8 points and 13 rebounds. He is a rookie though and is bound to be somewhat inconsistent.
Yi Jianlian The Nets have two 7 footers up front and this could be a formidable front line if they can develop chemistry and develop an NBA game. Yi had 19 points and 4 rebounds in his last start. Celtics can look at Yi and think of what might have been as he came close to being the Celtics' draft pick.