7:30 PM ET
TD BankNorth Garden
Celtics fans across the world are now beginning to become edgy for their first taste of playoff basketball in three years. Though the date and time of the Celtics’ playoff opener against Atlanta rests on the Boston Bruins, this is the most anticipated weekend Celtics fans have had since only God himself knows. The excitement is building in New England, and the city of Boston is just days away from reintroducing "The Jungle" to the basketball world once again.
However, we’ve still got one more regular season game to play, as division rival New Jersey is in town for tonight’s finale. The Nets have had a disappointing year, based on their self-expectations heading into the season. Mid-season, Ron Thorn and company finally realized that the New Jersey Nets were not going anywhere as they had been constructed. The front office finally set themselves up to move in another direction by trading Jason Kidd to Dallas for promising young guard Devin Harris and additional throw-ins (heck, even Keith Van Horn was reincarnated). Since the trade, New Jersey has held an 11-17 record and completely fallen out of the playoff race. Instead of competing in the postseason, they’ll be focused on the exact same area we were forced to last year – the NBA draft and its lottery.
A win tonight would complete a sweep over the Nets, and put the finishing touches on Boston’s illustrious regular season showing before officially beginning their quest for number 17 this weekend.
C DeSagana Diop / Kendrick Perkins
PF Nenad Krstic / Kevin Garnett
SF Richard Jefferson / James Posey
SG Vince Carter / Ray Allen
PG Devin Harris / Sam Cassell
Key Matchup: Vince Carter vs. Tony Allen
Ray Allen isn’t expected to play extended minutes tonight, meaning Tony Allen will likely see a lot of time. It would be nice to see TA play good defense on Vince Carter, who has scored 23.3 points per game this month on 54% shooting, and finish his regular season with a bang. Allen may play a limited role in the postseason, but he certainly can be a big plus for this team’s run if he is confident in the playoffs.
Celtics X-Factor: Crowd Noise
Tonight’s game may be relatively meaningless, but let’s show this organization our love. Give the viewers on TV a little playoff preview, and unleash The Jungle. The Celtics have put together a regular season of basketball that we will all remember for the rest of our lives, and no matter how this game means to the team’s outlook, the fans need to make it a point to thank them with a great deal of noise.
NJ – Josh Boone (tweaked right knee - doubtful)
BOS – Paul Pierce (sore wrist – doubtful)
BOS – Eddie House (strained groin – day-to-day)
BOS – Scot Pollard (torn tendon in left ankle – out for season)
Celtics Keys to the Game
- Crowd Noise
- Ball Control
- Spread the Minutes Around