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Celtics Host Nets in Matinee Game

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(5-52) at (36-20)
New Jersey Nets (5-52) at Boston Celtics (36-20)
Saturday, February 27
1:00 PM ET
Game #57 Home Game #27
TV: CSN-NE, YES HD, NBA-LP 751, 752
Radio: WEEI, WFAN
TD Garden
Referees: Marc Davis, Tony Brown, Michael Smith

Game Thread l Chat

The New Jersey Nets come into the Garden for a rare Saturday afternon matinee game. The 1 p.m. tip-off is the second and final Saturday afternoon game the Celtics will host this season. This is the 4th and final meeting between these two teams this season. The Celtics won all 3 of the previous games. The Nets have won just 5 games all season but have been in many of those games right to the end and any teams sleeping on them could be handed a loss.

Paul Pierce is expected to miss this game and honestly, he shouldn't be needed in it. Marquis Daniels put in 31 minutes against the Cavs while playing with the flu. Hopefully he will be feeling better for this game and is expected to start at small forward again in this game.

The Nets are 2-27 on the road and have won just 1 of their last 10 games. The Celtics are 16-10 at home and are 6-4 in their last 10. The Celtics seemed to have turned the corner on that last road trip, winning 3 of 4, but lapsed back into some bad habits in Thursday's game against the Cavs.

It has been a long time since the Celtics blew out a team at home and it would give the fans a boost to get to see Gino again. It would truly be a signal for worry if the Celtics were to lose to the Nets.

ProbableStarting Matchups
Point Guard
vs
Rajon Rondo vs Devin Harris

Shooting Guard
vs
Ray Allen vs Courtney Lee

Small Forward
vs
Marquis Daniels vs Trenton Hassell

Power Forward
vs
Kevin Garnett vs Yi Jianlian

Center
vs
Kendrick Perkins vs Brook Lopez

Key Matchups
vs
Rajon Rondo vs Devin Harris
Last season, Harris beat out Rondo for a spot on the All Star team and this year Rondo beat out Harris for the All Star spot. This should be a good matchup of 2 very quick point guards. Rondo needs to be aggressive in going to the hoop and finding the open man.

vs
Kendrick Perkins vs Brook Lopez
Lopez has been one of the bright spots for the Nets in an otherwise dismal season. Lopez leads the team in points, rebounds, and blocks. If Perk can slow down Lopez, this should be a fairly easy win.

Honorable Mention
Kevin Garnett vs Yi Jianlian
KG should be able to handle Yi easily if healthy, but there are questions as to whether KG is completely healthy.

Keys to the Game
Rebound Rebounding shows the amount of effort and desire a team has. The Celtics must bring both effort and desire and crash the boards on both ends.

Defense No explanation needed. Defense is the key to winning. Period. The Celtics have played defense in spurts, most notably in the first half, and then forget all about how to play defense as a team in the second half. They must get back to a game long defensive effort.

Play 48 Minutes The Celtics seem to either be hot at the beginning and then let up at the end of games or they come out sluggish and have to play catch up the entire game. They have blown more 10 + point leads than any team in the league. They must come out focused and stay focused for the full 48 minutes. They have to figure out their 3rd and 4th quarter problems if they expect to go deep into the playoffs.

X-Factor
Trap Game
As bad as the Nets have been, it would be easy to look past them. But that would be a mistake because the Nets have played teams hard but just can't seem to finish. If the Celtics let up, they might just be surprised by a team who decides to try a bit harder to beat a division rival.