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Celtics and Nets begin a home-and-home set in Boston

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The Celtics look to improve one of their draft picks as they host the Nets to begin a home and home set.

Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

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Brooklyn Nets (2-10) at Boston Celtics (6-5)
Friday, November 20, 2015
7:30 PM ET
Regular Season Game #12, Home Game #8
TV: CSNNE, YES, League Pass 753(DTV), 752(xfinity)
Radio: 98.5 Sports Hub, WFAN
TD Garden

Referees: Mike Callahan, Bennie Adams, Tyler Ford


The Celtics and Nets begin a home and home set as the Celtics host the Nets. The Celtics will visit the Barclay Center on Sunday to complete the set. These same two teams will have another home and home set on 1/2/15 and 1/4/15.

The Nets have won 4 of the last 6 regular season games in Boston after losing the previous 10 in a row. The Nets have won just 2 games so far and the Celtics are watching their record very closely because they own the Net's unconditional pick in this year's draft. At this point it looks as though it is going to be a high lottery pick.

Brooklyn's last 7 games have been decided by single digits. The last 5 games have been within 5 points in the final 2 minutes of the game, including the wins over Houston and Atlanta. These two teams have already met twice in the preseason with the Celtics winning both games.

The Celtics are coming off a tough loss to the Mavericks in which they blew an 18 point lead and missed several chances for the win in the final minute. They need to bounce back with a win in this game. The Celtics are just percentage points ahead of the Raptors for first in the Atlantic. The Raptors are playing the Lakers in LA and the Celtics need a win to keep pace or to move a game ahead.

The Celtics have no injuries to report but Jordan Mickey, James Young, and Terry Rozier were assigned to the Red Claws for their game on Thursday night and might still be with Maine, or they may be recalled. I'm assuming that Brad Stevens will stick with the same starting lineup that he has used for the past 3 games, but we can never be sure.

Probable Starting Matchups
Point Guard

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Isaiah Thomas vs Jarrett Jack

Shooting Guard

vs

Marcus Smart vs Rondae Hollis Jefferson

Small Forward

vs

Jae Crowder vs Joe Johnson

Power Forward

vs

Amir Johnson vs Thaddeus Young

Center

vs

Jared Sullinger vs Brook Lopez

Celtics Reserves

Avery Bradley

Evan Turner

RJ Hunter

Jonas Jerebko

David Lee

Jordan Mickey

Terry Rozier

James Young

Tyler Zeller

Kelly Olynyk

Head Coach

Brad Stevens


Injuries

None

Nets Reserves

Andrea Bargnani

Bojan Bogdanovic

Markel Brown

Wayne Ellington

Sergey Karasev

Shane Larkin

Thomas Robinson

Donald Sloan

Head Coach

Lionel Hollins

Injuries

Chris McCullough (knee) out

Willie Reed (thumb) out

Key Matchups

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Isaiah Thomas vs Jarrett Jack

Jack is averaging 14.7 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 7.5 assists. Jack is 4th in the league in assists and 9th in assist to turnover ratio. He also seems to always give the Celtics problems. I expect to see Marcus Smart or Avery Bradley covering him on defense.

vs

Jared Sullinger vs Brook Lopez

Lopez will be a challenge for Sullinger to defend. He is averaging 19.9 points, 8.3 rebounds and 2.4 blocks. Sully needs to be able to keep him away from the basket and away from his preferred spots on offense.

Honorable Mention

Amir Johnson vs Thaddeus Young

Young is averaging 15.8 points, 8.0 rebounds, 1.5 assists. In his last game he had 27 points and 8 rebounds and can get hot and he is also a good rebounder and so Johnson needs to box him out.


Keys to the Game

Defense - The Celtics need to continue to play their brand of stifling team defense. Hopefully the referees will be better in this game and allow them to play. Defense wins games and the Celtics' defense will be key to getting this win.


Rebound
- In their last 8 games, the Nets have outscored opponents 116-73 in second chance points. They are averaging 14.5 second chance points per game. The Celtics have to crash the boards and win the rebounding battle to limit the Nets' second chance points as well as to give themselves extra possessions.


Run and Move the Ball
- The Celtics need to run on every possession and they need to keep the ball moving. When they run and move the ball, they are much more effective in finding the open man and getting good shots.


Take Care of the Ball
- The Celtics are averagind 16.3 turnovers per game while the Nets are averaging 14.3 turnovers per game. The Celtics have to take care of the ball and make smart passes and not give the Nets extra possessions by turning it over.


Be Aggressive
- The Celtics need to be the more aggressive team in going after loose balls, rebounds, 50/50 balls, and in going to the basket. They also have to be aggressive on defense. They have to be the team that wants it more and they have to play that way for 48 minutes.

X-Factors
Focus
- There was no question that the officiating was terrible in the game against the Mavs. They officials took the Celtics out of their game defensively and the Celtics have to learn to focus regardless of any outside influences. Hopefully the officiating will be better in this game.

It's the Nets - Hopefully the Celtics will respect the Nets and not underestimate them because of their record. Hopefully they also realize the double benefit of beating the Nets to improve their lottery standing.

Official Report
Mike Callahan

A veteran of 25 NBA seasons, Mike Callahan has officiated 1,483 regular season, 156 Playoff and 16 NBA Finals games.He was a member of the crews that officiated the 2007 NBA All-Star Game, 1994 Mexico Challenge and the 1996 Schick Rookie Game. Prior to joining the NBA, Callahan spent three years officiating in the CBA, including the 1989 and 1990 CBA Finals. A member of the Cardinal O’Hara High School basketball team for four years, Callahan also coached the freshman basketball team after graduating.

Callahan is one of 4 refs to come out of Cardinal O'Hara High School in Pennsylvania. The other 3 are Joey Crawford, Ed Malloy and Tim Donaghy. Callahan was one of the referees mentioned in an incident in Tim Donaghy's book. He and other refs would regularly wager with their fellow refs over things like who would call the first foul, who could give out the first tech, etc. Makes you wonder what game they might be playing tonight.

Callahan called game 1 of the Cleveland series in last season's playoffs. The refs were terrible in that game. Even the national TV announcers continually pointed out bad calls and how LeBron got away with so much They also mentioned that if LeBron was called for even half of his infractions the game would have changed. Cleveland shot 33 free throws to 22 for the Celtics. He called the second game this season against the Raptors and it was officiated ok.

As with most refs, Callahan can be good or he can be very, very bad. He usually lets the teams play and isn't a tyrant with the whistle but still makes some head scratching calls from time to time. He averages 43.2 foul calls per game and 47.3% of those calls are on the home team.


Tyler Ford

Prior to joining the NBA Ford spent five seasons (2009-2015) in the NBA D-League where he officiated 11 playoff games from 2010-2015 including the 2015 NBA D-League Finals and the 2014 NBA D-League All-Star game. Ford also spent four seasons (2011-2015) officiating in the WNBA. He also officiated Division 1 basketball for three season in the Big 10 Conference, Mid-American Conference, & Summit League. In addition, he acted as the Assistant Director of Intramural Sports at Purdue University for six years (2009-2015). Ford holds both a Bachelors & Masters from Ball State University in Sport Administration.

Sometimes young referees can be intimidated by the home crowd and sometimes they try to prove that they can't be intimidated and call everything against the home team. He's a blank slate at this point but I'm sure we will get to know him very quickly. He called the Raptors' game along with Callahan and was pretty good in that game. He averages 43.9 foul calls per game and 45.9% of those are called on the home team.

Bennie Adams

A former math instructor at Southern University, Bennie Adams joined the NBA officiating staff 21 seasons ago, and since then has officiated 1,171 regular season and nine Playoff games In addition, he has been a USA Basketball official since 1995. Adams has also officiated the 2008 NBA Europe Live Tour and the 2002 NBA All-Star Rookie Challenge. Adams officiated in the CBA for three years, and worked the 1996 CBA Finals. He also has three years of collegiate officiating experience in the Southeastern, Ohio Valley, Trans America Athletic and Southwestern Athletic Conferences. Adams also has 10 years of high school officiating experience in Louisiana. Adams has both a Masters and Bachelors degree in mathematics from Southern University.

Adams tends to be inconsistent especially on charge/block calls. He is on Tommy Heinsohn's naughty list (along with a lot of others). In one game, Tommy went ballistic yelling at the top of his lungs "GO BACK TO YOUR MOMMA BENNIE ADAMS!!!" However, he hasn't been particularly bad in recent games with the Celtics. Adams calls an average of 39.2 fouls per game and tends to let them play for the most part. 45.9% of those fouls are on the home team.