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Celtics Looking to Cut Down the Nets

(4-44) at (31-16)
New Jersey Nets (4-44) at Boston Celtics (31-16)
Friday, February 5
7:30 PM ET
Game #48 Home Game #23
TV: CSN-NE, YES HD, NBA-LP 755, 756
TD Garden
Referees: Mike Callahan, Mark Ayote, Mark Lindsay
Game Thread l Chat
The Nets have been suffering through a terrible season. They have won just 4 games so far this season, beating only Charlotte, Chicago, New York, and the Clippers. Needless to say, now that they have proved to be so dismal, teams will be putting out extra effort so as not to join the limited club of teams that have lost to the woeful Nets.

The Nets are 1-24 on the road and 1-9 in their last 10 games while the Celtics are 14-8 at home and 4-6 in their last 10. The Nets are on a 4 game losing streak while the Celtics are on a modest 2 game win streak.

The Celtics seem to be getting back on track as they get healthier. They are expected to be without Paul Pierce again in this game but with the way Tony has been playing, he should be able to once again fill in for the injured Captain. On the other hand, the Nets appear to have given up on the season and are looking forward to the John Wall sweepstakes.

While posting the Nets' roster, I kept thinking: "He's still in the league?" They have a nice starting lineup, but their bench is mostly expiring contracts waiting for the big 2010 free agent class. But, in spite of all this, the Celtics can't overlook this team. There are 4 teams in the Nets loss column who prove this. The Celtics should win this one easily as long as they come in focused and not take the Nets for granted.

ProbableStarting Matchups
Point Guard
Rajon Rondo vs Devin Harris

Shooting Guard
Ray Allen vs Courtney Lee

Small Forward
Tony Allen vs Jarvis Hayes

Power Forward
Kevin Garnett vs Yi Jianlian

Kendrick Perkins vs Brook Lopez

Key Matchups
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. Hopefully Rondo will continue to play aggressively as he has in the Celtics last two games.

Kendrick Perkins vs Brook Lopez
Lopez has been one of the bright spots for the Nets in an otherwise dismal season. Lopez is the team's scoring leader at 18.9 ppg, in rebounds at 9.1 rpg and in blocks at 2.0 ppg. If Perk can slow down Lopez, this should be a fairly easy win.

Honorable Mention
Kevin Garnett vs Yi Jianlian
KG has been showing improvement with each game he plays. He should be able to win this matchup if he continues on that path of improvement.

Keys to the Game
Limit Turnovers The Celtics must take better care of the basketball. They have been turning the ball over at an alarming rate and must make better passes and keep their focus so as to limit these turnovers. They improved somewhat against the Heat and need to continue to make this a priority.

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. They out rebounded an opponent for the first time in several games against Miami. They need to continue to put out effort on the glass.

Defense No explanation needed. Defense is the key to winning. Period.

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 must come out focused and stay focused for the full 48 minutes.

Trap Game
As bad as the Nets have been, it would be easy to look past them to the Magic on Sunday. 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.

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