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Celtics Face Nets in Matinee Game

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Boston Celtics (32-9) at New Jersey Nets (19-21)
Regular Season Game #42 – Road Game #20
Saturday, January 17, 2009
1:00 PM ET
TV: CSN HD, YES HD, NBA LP 751
IZOD Center

Game Thread l Chat

The Celtics are completing their second home and home series in a row as they visit the New Jersey Nets for a rare Saturday afternoon game. The Celtics have been off since their first meeting on Tuesday while the Nets played Portland on Thursday and were off on Friday.

The Nets are one of the few teams who have a better record on the road than they do at home. They are 9-13 at home and 12-7 on the road. But they seemed to be turing that trend around in recent games as their loss on Wednesday was their 4th road loss in a row and they had won 4 home games in a row before losing to the Blazers on Thursday.

The Celtics embarassed the Nets by 32 on Wednesday and the Nets will be looking to redeem themselves with a better showing in this game. The Celtics can't take the Nets for granted even though they blew them out in their first meeting because it will be a road game for the Celtics and the Nets are sure to play much better than they did in the first meeting in Boston.

ProbableStarting Matchups
Point Guard
vs
Rajon Rondo vs Devin Harris

Shooting Guard
vs
Ray Allen vs Vince Carter

Small Forward
vs
Paul Pierce vs Bobby Simmons

Power Forward
vs
Kevin Garnett vs Ryan Anderson

Center
vs
Brian Scalabrine vs Brook Lopez

Boston Celtics Injuries
Tony Allen (ankle) out
Kendrick Perkins (shoulder) out
JR Giddens (wrist) out
Eddie House (ankle) probable

New Jersey Nets Injuries
Yi Jianlian ( finger ) out
Josh Boone (ankle) day to day
Vince Carter (leg) probable

Key Matchups
vs
Rajon Rondo PPG 10.8 RPG 4.80 APG 7.8 EFF + 17.85
Devin Harris PPG 22.7 RPG 3.20 APG 6.5 EFF + 21.36
Rondo more than held his own against Harris in their first meeting in Boston on Wednesday. He seemed to have that aggressiveness back that he was lacking during the Celtics losing streak. Hopefully he will keep that aggressiveness on the road.

vs
Ray Allen PPG 17.7 RPG 3.40 APG 2.7 EFF + 16.39
Vince Carter PPG 22.2 RPG 4.90 APG 4.8 EFF + 20.49
Ray Allen was quiet but efficient in the first matchup between these division rivals, hitting 5 of 8 shots for 12 points in just 28 minutes. Vince Carter was ineffectual as he scored just 4 points on 1-10 shooting. Carter limped to the locker room after a collision with Scal but returned to the game later. I expect him to play in this game and to try to redeem himself after the poor performance in Boston.

Team Connections
Brian Scalabrine played for the Nets from 01-05
Josh Boone and Ray Allen are former UConn Huskies
Stromile Swift and Big Baby both went to LSU
Ryan Anderson and Leon Powe are both former Cal Bears
Eddie House played for the Nets in the 06-07 season
Nets assistant coaches Doug Overton (99-01) and Roy Rogers (97-98 ) both played for the Celtics
Eddie House and Keyon Dooling were teammates on the Clippers

Keys to the Game
Focus After blowing out the Nets by 32, it would be easy for the Celtics to let up against them in this game, but that would be a mistake. The Nets are a better team than their record and the last game would indicate and if taken for granted, will take advantage.

Defense The Celtics beat the Nets in Boston with defense. This was their calling card in their 19 game win streak as well as in winning their championship last season. They got away from playing defense during their slump this season and at times have not brought their defense on the road. They need to remember that defense wins games and focus on that in this game.

Play 48 Minutes Just as in the first meeting between these two teams, the Celtics need to come out strong and finish strong with no let ups. They finally put together a complete game from start to finish and the results were very good. Hopefully they will do the same in this game.

X-Factor
Road vs Home The Nets have played better on the road this season than they have at home. On the other hand, the Celtics have struggled on the road in several games this season. The Celtics need to come out with the same intensity in New Jersey as they did at home.