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Celtics host Paul Pierce and the Nets Part 2

The Celtics welcome Paul Pierce and the Brooklyn Nets to the Garden for the second time this season.

Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Brooklyn Nets (30-29) at Boston Celtics (20-41)
Friday, March 7, 2014
7:30 PM ET
Regular Season Game #62, Home Game #32
TV: CSNNE, YES, NBA-LP 755(DTV)/753(Xfinity)
Radio: WBZ, WFAN
TD Garden
Referees: Derrick Stafford, Scott Twardoski, Gary Zielinski

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The Celtics welcome Paul Pierce and the Brooklyn Nets to the Garden for the second time this season. Kevin Garnett will miss his 4th straight game with back spasms and didn't make the trip. This is the 3rd meeting between these two teams this season. The Nets won both of the previous meetings. They will meet once more on March 21 in Brooklyn.

The Celtics got are a little healthier with Kelly Olynyk back and he played very well in his return. Avery Bradley's MRI was negative, but he is expected to miss at least another week.

Jason Terry, who was traded to the Nets along with Pierce and Garnett, was traded to the Kings at the deadline, but Jason Collins, who played in 32 games for the Celtics last year will be making his first visit to the Garden since leaving the Celtics.

Brooklyn has been playing well and has clawed their way back over .500. They have won 4 in a row, while the Celtics have lost their last 2 games. Brooklyn has won 15 of 16 games vs teams under .500 while the Celtics have lost 23 of 26 games vs teams over .500. The Nets are a conference best 20-8 in the year 2014.

Probable Starting Matchups
Point Guard

Rajon Rondo vs Deron Williams

Shooting Guard
Jerryd Bayless vs Shaun Livingston

Small Forward

Jeff Green vs Joe Johnson

Power Forward
Brandon Bass vs Paul Pierce

Kris Humphries vs Mason Plumlee

Celtics Reserves
Joel Anthony
Chris Johnson
Phil Pressey
Chris Babb
Jared Sullinger
Kelly Olynyk

Keith Bogans (personal) out
Vitor Faverani (knee) out
Avery Bradley (ankle) out
Gerald Wallace (knee) out

Nets Reserves
Andray Blatche
Mirza Teletovic
Andrei Kirilenko
Marquis Teague
Jason Collins
Alan Anderson
Marcus Thornton


Brook Lopez (foot) out
Kevin Garnett (back) out

Key Matchups
Rajon Rondo vs Deron Williams
This should be a good matchup between two veteran point guards. Williams is averaging 14.1 points, 2.4 rebounds, and 6.4 assists this season.

Brandon Bass vs Paul Pierce
Paul Pierce has moved to the power forward and has been playing well there. He is averaging 13.5 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 2.7 assists per game. This should be an interesting matchup to watch.

Keys to the Game
- The Celtics are coming off a game in which they played virtually no defense. They haven't been playing defense as a team and have been allowing teams to score way too easily. They must get back to making tough team defense a priority if they hope to win.

Run- The Celtics play best when they set the pace and run on every possession. They can get easy shots when they beat the defenses down the court. Now, the Celtics are the team with the young legs and should be able to tire the older Nets if they use that to their advantage.

Rebound- The Celtics must crash the boards to give themselves extra possessions and to prevent second chance baskets for the Nets. The Celtics will need to put out extra effort if they want to win the rebounding battle.

Take Care of the Ball - Whether it was a lack of focus or the Warriors' defense, the Celtics turned the ball over way too many times on Wednesday. They need to keep their focus and take better care of the ball. Turnovers lead to easy baskets for the opponents. The Nets have been
forcing 22.8 turnovers during their current win streak and so the Celtics have to be very careful not to give them easy opportunities.

Be Aggressive - The Celtics were too laid back and didn't put out much effort in the loss to the Warriors. They need to get their aggressiveness back and drive to the basket, dive for loose balls, go after rebounds. They have to be aggressive on defense and just play harder.

The Celtics stated after their loss to the Warriors that they are playing for pride now. Will that be enough to get them a win against a team playing for playoff seeding?

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