Boston Celtics (4-0) at New Jersey Nets (4-1)
7:30 PM ET
TV: CSN, NBA-TV, Yes HD
Nets Blog: Hooplah Nation
Defense: This is going to be the key to every victory this season. Defense has always been the key to winning and the Celtics finally have a good defensive team. They must continue their commitment to playing in your face team defense, especially against teams like the Nets that are capable of putting up big offensive numbers.
Ball Movement: When they move the ball to find the open man, this team is pretty much unbeatable. When the ball movement stalls and one player tries to do too much, they struggle. That was one of the reasons that the Raptors game was so close - they didn't move the ball as efficiently as they should and players tried to do too much on their own.
Don't Pick up Cheap Fouls: We need our starters to stay out of foul trouble. Rondo especially needs to stay away from fouls because he becomes tentative when he picks up fouls early and we need his aggressive defense on Kidd. Because Pollard is still rusty, it is also important for Perk to stay out of foul trouble.
The Nets were picked by many of the preview magazines to win the Atlantic. They have their own big 3 of Kidd, Jefferson and Carter and are a dangerous team. The Celtics have already beaten one Atlantic Division rival and with many picking the Nets to win the division, and it would definitely send a message if they can win in this one. The Celtics have a lot going against them in this game. It is the second of back to back games. They are traveling after the Hawks game and won't have the home crowd to get them going. Doc will be attending his father's funeral in the morning and may or may not coach. The Celtics 3 stars all played 35+ minutes against the Hawks. Posey and now Scal will be out with injuries. With all the adversity surrounding this game, it will definitely be a big test for this team.
Jason Kidd is one of the best PG's in the league and Rondo must figure out how to take him out of his game. Rondo has faced some tough competition so far (Arenas, Ford, Iverson) but this will be his toughest matchup yet. It will be the wily veteran against the up and coming PG.
Vince Carter is capable of taking over a game and RA is going to need to make him work on the defensive end so that he won't be as prolific on the offensive end. The Celtics will need to play team defense to give RA some help on Vince.
Pierce has been playing great defense and will need to continue in this game since Jefferson has been the Nets' high scorer with 25.8 points per game. Jefferson is a good defensive player and so Pierce will also need to continue to play an unselfish game on offense to get others involved.