Thursday, October 7, 2010
Fresh off a 93-65 thrashing of the Philadelphia 76ers last night, the Boston Celtics will face their second straight divisional foe tonight when they visit the New Jersey Nets at 7:00pm.
The Nets have also defeated the 76ers this preseason - a 103-96 decision on Tuesday night - behind 24 points from Brook Lopez and 20 points from Terrence Williams.
Celtics: Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Shaquille O'Neal
Note: After last night's win, Doc Rivers did hint that some players might sit out of tonight's game, so it is entirely possible that the starting five we see tonight will differ from the group we saw last night.
Nets: Jordan Farmar, Anthony Morrow, Travis Outlaw, Kris Humphries, and Brook Lopez.
For the Celtics, Kendrick Perkins (knee), Jermaine O'Neal (hamstring), and Avery Bradley (ankle) will not play tonight.
Worth Noting: Pierce left last night's game in the second half with an upset stomach, while Rajon Rondo had his right hand wrapped for the majority of the final 24 minutes. Doc said afterward that Rondo's been treating that hand for some time (it didn't appear to hinder him at any point last night), and shrugged off Pierce's ailment, suggesting he wanted to catch Roy Halladay's no-hitter instead. Nonetheless, something to keep an eye on tonight.
For the Nets, Devin Harris (foot), Troy Murphy (groin), Joe Smith (knee), and Brian Zoubek (back) are all listed as day-to-day, but did not play in New Jersey's win over Philadelphia on Tuesday.
It was announced during the broadcast last night that no player in NBA history has ever worn the number 86 - the current digits of Semih Erden.
Keep An Eye On...
- Semih Erden: The 7-foot Turkish center played a team-high 24 minutes in last night's win, totaling 13 points, five rebounds, and two blocked shots. It'll be interesting to see how he plays on the second night of a back-to-back. I expect he'll receive similar, if not more, minutes tonight, especially if Shaquille O'Neal or Kevin Garnett sit out. If Brook Lopez plays tonight, we'll probably see the two matched up at some point, and it'll be worth watching how Erden fairs against a legitimate NBA center. Granted, he goes up against the likes of Shaq and Jermaine O'Neal in practice every day, so you could argue that he's already battle tested, but let's see how he does in a real game scenario.
- Ball Pressure: Doc Rivers raved about the ball pressure supplied by Nate Robinson and Rajon Rondo last night, noting that it allowed everyone else to do their jobs on defense that much better. If Harris sits again, Farmar could be serving as the Nets' only real point guard, which means Rondo, Robinson, and even Delonte West, could wreak a fair amount of havoc on New Jersey's reserve ball handlers (Let's call it the Evan Turner Treatment).
- End of the Bench: The likes of Luke Harangody, Von Wafer, Mario West, and Stephane Lasme didn't see much time until the fourth quarter last night. Lasme certainly made the most of his minutes (12 points over the final 7:07), while Wafer didn't attempt a shot, and West was a non-factor. The minutes of Wafer, West, and Lasme should increase over the next few games, so we'll continue to get an idea of who is the best fit for the final spot on the roster. Lasme won himself a number of fans with his aggressive play last night, competing in a fashion that many expected out of Mario West. West's work ethic and hustle were talked up leading into last night's game, but when the final buzzer sounded, it was Lasme's effort that we were all talking about.
Additional Reading: Shaq, a New Jersey native, doesn't want the Nets to move to Brooklyn, and offered to serve as the team's general manager upon his retirement.