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Celtics host short handed Nets in their first home game of the preseason

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The Celtics take to their home court for the first time this preseason as they host the Brooklyn Nets

Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

at 
Brooklyn Nets (2-3)   at  Boston Celtics (3-1)
Monday, October 19, 2015
7:30 pm ET
TV: CSNNE, NBA-LP 752(xfinity)/751(DTV) 
TD Garden

The Celtics take to their home court for the first time this preseason as they host the Brooklyn Nets.  They are looking to bounce back from their first loss of the preseason and to sweep the preseason series against the Nets. 

The Celtics have been off since Friday's loss to the Knicks while the Nets are playing on the second night of a back to back set.  On Sunday night.  the Nets won their second game of the preseason as they narrowly edged the Philadelphia 76ers by one point.


David Lee missed Sunday's practice with the illness that has been going through the Celtics since they played in Spain.  Marcus Smart and Terry Rozier returned to practice and are expected to play in this game after missing all of last week. 

The Nets have pretty much stuck with the same starting lineup throughout the preseason but they plan on sitting starters Brook Lopez, Thaddeus Young, Joe Johnson, and Jarrett Jack, none of whom made the trip to Boston.  The Celtics have experimented with different lineups and so it's not certain who will start in this game, especially with Lee under the weather and the Nets sitting out much of their team. 

With all that going on,  the starting lineups below are a total guess.  Perhaps Sully will get a chance to start after falling out of favor to begin the preseason.  Stevens has said that he will be resting some players while giving others more playing time so it's hard to guess what the rotation will be.  I personally would love to see more Jordan Mickey.



Possible Starters
PG: Marcus Smart
SG: Avery Bradley
SF: Evan Turner
PF:  Amir Johnson
C: Tyler Zeller

Probable Reserves
Coty Clarke
Jae Crowder
RJ Hunter
Jonas Jerebko
Jared Sullinger
Perry Jones III
Jordan Mickey
Malcolm Miller
Kelly Olynyk
Levi Randolph
Terry Rozier
Isaiah Thomas
Corey Watson
James Young

Head Coach
Brad Stevens

Injuries
David Lee (illness) questionable

Players to Watch

Time is running out for Perry Jones to prove he belongs on the team.  He is coming off of a DNP-CD in the last game and if he is going to show the Celtics that he shouldn't be the player who is cut,  he has to do it now.  He is an intriguing player, athletic and able to defend multiple positions   
Jared Sullinger has been the 5th big off the bench with limited playing time so far this preseason.  He hasn't been turning heads so far either.  With David Lee sick and Amir Johnson having great chemistry with Isaiah Thomas,  Jared may get the chance to start but since Johnson was able to handle Lopez so well in their last meeting,  maybe not. 
Marcus Smart and Terry Rozier both were out most of last week with the illness that has gone through the team.  Brad Stevens has said that he wants to give both plenty of playing time to get back into game shape.



Possible Starters
PG: Shane Larkin
SG: Wayne Ellington
SF: Rondae Hollis Jefferson
PF Thomas Robinson
C Justin Harper

Probable Reserves
Ryan Boatright
Markel Brown
Chris Daniels
Dahntay Jones
Sergey Karasev
Chris McCullough
Quincy Miller
Donald Sloan

Head Coach
Lionel Hollins

Injuries

Andrea Bargnani (hamstring) day to day
Willie Reed (thumb)  out 
Jarrett Jack (rest)  out 
Joe Johnson (rest) out
Thaddeus Young (rest) out
Brook Lopez (rest) out 

Keys to the Game
Defense - The Celtics are building their identity on their defense this season. However, they seemed to slack off against the Knicks.   They need to continue to build a tough and swarming defense. Defense will be even more important as they get into the regular season.

Take Care of the Ball - The Celtics turned the ball over 18 times against the Knicks.  They need to make crisp passes and take better care of the basketball.  They were too sloppy against the Knicks and need to be sharper in this game.

Run, Run, Run!
-  The Celtics need to use their depth to their advantage and run on every possession.  They have the young legs and the players to run the Nets out of the gym. 

Rebound - The Celtics need to box out and be more effective on the boards.  In their first game against the Nets, they were out-rebounded 44-40.  Against the Knicks,  they were out-rebounded on the offensive end 18-11.  The Celtics have got to crash the boards and beat the Nets to the rebounds.

Be Aggressive - The Celtics allowed the Knicks to out-play them in their last game.  They have to get back to being the more aggressive team and beat the Nets to loose balls and rebounds and be the more aggressive on defense and in going to the basket. 

X-Factors
Experimenting -  The preseason is a time that most coaches use to experiment with lineups and combinations as well as to look at players who may or may not make the team.  The Nets are sitting most of their starting lineup and that could make the Celtics feel over confident and allow the Nets to steal this game.  Or, the Celtics may look to bounce back from the loss in their last game and play hard from start to finish and in that case, they may need to use a mercy rule to halt play. 

Home Game
- The Celtics are playing at home for the first time this preseason.  The crowd should be excited and should give the team a boost as they play for their home fans for the first time.