Tonight, preseason basketball shifts to Newark, New Jersey, where the Nets will host the Celtics for a rematch of Sunday's matinee showdown. Boston took care of business in that contest, winning 100-93. New Jersey was held to 40.5% shooting from the field altogether, including an ugly 29.4% clip from beyond the arc. Meanwhile, the C's shot over 45% from the floor and rallied behind an efficient 25-point performance from Paul Pierce and strong bench play.
On the other side, Lawrence Frank struggled to get big performances from his perimeter soldiers. The starting backcourt of Rafer Alston and Chris Douglas-Roberts shot a combined 7-21 from the field while Courtney Lee, Bobby Simmons and rookie swingman Terrence Williams failed to help the cause by hauling up bricks in 16 of their 22 shot attempts.
However, the Nets did manage to get some very promising showings from three of New Jersey's key interior players. Of course, second-year center Brook Lopez highlighted them all, as the gifted seven-footer tallied 21 points, grabbed eight rebounds, blocked three shots and connected on 11 of his 14 free throw attempts. The former Stanford Cardinal appeared to be on a mission, and didn't back down from anyone in his path. In fact, he undoubtedly put more pressure on the Celtic defense than they put on him, as he showed off his fluid post arsenal and drew multiple fouls in shooting motion. Even Kevin Garnett praised Lopez's improvements in the post-game press conference. Keep your eyes peeled, he's got a very bright future.
Yi Jianlian came away with a 20-and-8 performance of his own, and this time it was not against a chair out in LA. Granted, he remains more than lost on the defensive end and probably still can't stop the infamous chair from scoring, but does Yi have a beautiful stroke or what? In addition to that, he looks a bit bigger, as does Josh Boone, who came off the bench to contribute 14 points and seven boards. Tommy marveled at his new and improved confidence level, and as crazy as the old man can get, he was onto something this time. Boone's no dummy, he knows that this is a contract year.
One notable that didn't suit up for the Nets on Sunday afternoon was 2009 All-Star Devin Harris, who rested a sore left ankle. He will, however, be in the lineup tonight, so expect a more dynamic offensive attack from them this time around.
PG SG SF PF C
Paul Pierce (14.0)
Rajon Rondo (3.0)
Kevin Garnett (1.7)
Rasheed Wallace (1.3)
PG SG SF PF C
PPG:Brook Lopez (19.3)
APG:Devin Harris (6.0)
SPG:Courtney Lee (2.0)
BPG:Brook Lopez (1.7)