Friday, January 11
7:30 PM ET
On November 10, the Celtics went into the IZOD Center and embarrassed New Jersey on their home floor. The only thing keeping the final score from blowout status was a late run by New Jersey that still fell 11 points short. At the time, the Celtics were still undefeated, and would win the next three games before suffering their first loss of the season to Orlando on November 18. New Jersey was struggling to find their niche and was in the midst of a six-game losing streak.
That was then and this is now. The Celtics recently suffered their fourth loss of the season to the Charlotte Bobcats at home, and the Nets have won eight of their last 10 games. Perhaps the biggest story is not New Jersey’s recent success, however, but rather the remarkable play of Jason Kidd. It is only the second week of January and Kidd already has recorded 10 triple doubles, including three in his last four outings. The superstar guard is holing averages of 11.6 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 10.7 assists per game, and is also just six assists away from passing Isiah Thomas for fifth place on the all-time assists list.
Kidd isn’t the only Net having a monstrous year. Richard Jefferson has finally taken the next step and has had a breakout year on the offensive end. The seventh-year swingman is averaging a career-high 24.6 points per game and deserves as much All-Star consideration as any other reserve forward is getting… except Paul Pierce, of course.
It’ll be interesting to see if the Celtics can slow the Nets down and postpone the dreaded thought of mortally losing two games in a row.
C Kendrick Perkins / Josh Boone
PF Kevin Garnett / Sean Williams
SF Paul Pierce / Richard Jefferson
SG Ray Allen / Vince Carter
PG Rajon Rondo / Jason Kidd
Key Matchup: Rajon Rondo vs. Jason Kidd
It’s tough to argue that Jason Kidd isn’t one of the top point guards in the NBA, if not the best. Rondo did a serviceable job on Kidd at the IZOD Center back in November, but two weeks later Kidd had it going for himself offensively. Rondo needs to make sure he uses his speed to his advantage and plays smart defense. Kidd may not try to score 20 points on him, but he doesn’t need to. Rajon must harass him when he has the ball in his hands.
Celtics X-Factor: Tony Allen
"TA" has been playing excellent basketball, for the most part, over the span of the past week and a half or so. He needs to keep his recent play up and serve as a defensive presence against New Jersey’s talented perimeter players.
NJ – Nenad Krstic (left knee)
BOS – Scot Pollard (sore ankle – day-to-day)
Celtics Keys to the Game
- Own the Boards
- Attack, Don’t Settle (like vs. Charlotte)
- Ball Movement