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Celtics Look to Bounce Back vs Nets

(6-1) at (0-6)

Boston Celtics (6-1) at New Jersey Nets (0-6)
Saturday, November 7
7:30 PM ET
Game #8 Away Game #4
TV: CSN HD, YES HD, LP 751, 752
Izod Center

Referees: Mark Wunderlich, Joe Forte, Eli Roe

Game Thread l Chat

The Nets are traditional rivals of the Celtics as we think back to the 2002 Eastern Conference Finals where the Nets defeated the Celtics in a hotly contested 6 game series. The Nets have fallen on hard times and this season are just marking time until they can make a play for LeBron or some other big free agent in 2010. Their ownership and even location are up in the air at this point and that can't make for a very stable club.

Both teams are playing in the second of back to back games and both teams had to travel the night before. New Jersey played at Philly and Boston played the Suns at home. However, older legs have a harder time in back to back games. If the Wolves game was any indication, this may be closer than it should be. The Nets, however have been depleted by injuries and so have just 9 players available.

The Nets are still winless after a 3 point loss to Philly on Friday. The Celtics are no longer undefeated after their loss to Phoenix and now they can get on with the rest of the season without worrying about staying undefeated. . The Celtics defense has slipped in the last two games, allowing both the Wolves and Suns to shoot over 50%. They need to get back to their commitment to defense. and the winless Nets are an ideal team to get them back on track.

ProbableStarting Matchups
Point Guard
Rajon Rondo vs Rafer Alston

Shooting Guard
Ray Allen vs Courtney Lee

Small Forward
Paul Pierce vs Chris Douglas Roberts

Power Forward
Kevin Garnett vs Eduardo Najera

Kendrick Perkins vs Brook Lopez

Eddie House
Rasheed Wallace
Marquis Daniels
Shelden Williams
Brian Scalabrine
Lester Hudson

Bill Walker (knee) out
Tony Allen (ankle) out
Big Baby Davis (thumb) out

Josh Boone
Sean Williams
Bobby Simmons
Trenton Hassell

Keyon Dooling (hip) out
Tony Battie (knee) out
Devin Harris (groin) questionable
Jarvis Hayes (hamstring) out
Yi Jianlian (MCL) out
Courtney Lee (leg) questionable
And the bad news keeps coming for the Nets. Chris Mannix just reported that Chris Douglas Roberts has tested positive for swine flu.

Key Matchups
Rajon Rondo 9.2 PPG 9.7 APG 2.8 SPG
Rafer Alston 7.8 PPG4.6 APG ,4 SPG
Alston probably has a chip on his shoulder against the Celtics for the suspension he got after batting Eddie House in the head in the playoffs. This should be a good matchup and hopefully Rondo will get the better of it.

Kendrick Perkins 9.2 PPG 5.5 RPG 2.3 BPG
Brook Lopez 16.2 PPG 7.2 RPG 2.2 BPG
Lopez is one of the bright spots for the Nets and Perk needs to keep him away from the basket.

Honorable Mention
Ray Allen 15 PPG 2.7 APG .357 3P%
Courtney Lee 12.6 PP 2APG .143 3P%
Courtney Lee is a talented young player. He played very well against the Celtics in the playoffs. Although, Lee left last night's game with a leg injury so it isn't sure if he will start or play in this one.
Game Notes
• Celtics swept the season series 4-0 against New Jersey in 2008-09
• Paul Pierce led the Celtics with 19.0 points per game last season
• Devin Harris averaged 16.3 points per game against the Celtics last season in four games
• The Celtics are currently on a nine game winning streak against the Nets which marks their longest winning streak against the Nets since an 11
game winning streak that spanned the 1980-81 and 1981-82 season
• The Celtics are leading the all-time series 103-54 with the Celtics 55-24 at home

Keys to the Game
Defense, Defense, Defense!!!
Defense will be the key to every game this season and also to winning another championship. They have let their defense slip the past two games and need to get back to that commitment to playing lock down team defense or even the Nets will challenge them.

Bench Play
The second unit has slipped since their strong start. The Celtics have a very deep and talented bench. They need to get back to playing like it.

Intensity and Desire
I know the team is tired from the recent stretch of games, but they need to get their fire back. They have been playing without the swagger that made them so tough through their first 5 games.

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