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Celtics look to sweep home and home set as they visit the Nets

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The Celtics visit the Brooklyn Nets to complete the home and home set that began with a 120-95 Celtics win in Boston.

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Boston Celtics (7-5) at Brooklyn Nets (2-11)
Sunday, November 22, 2015
6:00 pm ET
Game #13, Road Game #5
TV: CSNNE, YES, NBA-LP 751(DTV)/753(xfinity)
98.5 Sports Hub, WFAN
Barclays Center

Referees: James Capers, Kevin Cutler, David Guthrie

The Celtics visit the Brooklyn Nets to complete the home and home set that began with a 120-95 Celtics win in Boston. These same two teams will have another home and home set on 1/2/15 and 1/4/15.

The Nets won the last game they played at the Barclays Center 90-88 over the Atlanta Hawks and are 1-3 at home. The Celtics are 3-1 on the road and are looking for their second straight win over the Nets and their 3rd win in 4 tries.

Before the Celtics 25 point blowout win over the Nets on Friday, Brooklyn's last 7 games were decided by single digits. Their previous 5 games were within 5 points in the final 2 minutes of the game, including their wins over Houston and Atlanta. The Celtics have already beaten the Nets twice in the preseason plus the regular season win on Friday.

Marcus Smart left the Celtics game on Friday with a leg injury and has been ruled out for this game as well as Tuesday's game against the Hawks. Evan Turner, who also had an MRI on his knee traveled with the team and is probable to play.

Terry Rozier and James Young have both been recalled from the Red Claws and will be with the team for added depth should they be needed. I'm going to guess that Avery Bradley will move into the starting lineup in the place of Marcus Smart, but that's just a guess. Brad Stevens has really liked Bradley off the bench and I wouldn't be surprised to see Rozier or Hunter start, either. But I think Bradley is the most likely to fill in for Smart.

Probable Starting Matchups
Point Guard

Isaiah Thomas vs Jarrett Jack

Shooting Guard
Avery Bradley vs Rondae Hollis Jefferson

Small Forward
Jae Crowder vs Joe Johnson

Power Forward
Amir Johnson vs Thaddeus Young

Jared Sullinger vs Brook Lopez

Celtics Reserves
Evan Turner
RJ Hunter
Jonas Jerebko
David Lee
Jordan Mickey
Terry Rozier
James Young
Tyler Zeller
Kelly Olynyk

Head Coach
Brad Stevens


Marcus Smart (leg) out
Evan Turner (knee) probable

Nets Reserves
Andrea Bargnani
Bojan Bogdanovic
Markel Brown
Wayne Ellington
Sergey Karasev
Shane Larkin
Thomas Robinson
Donald Sloan

Head Coach
Lionel Hollins

Chris McCullough (knee) out
Willie Reed (thumb) out

Key Matchups
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 only scored 11 points on 3-8 shooting in Friday's game and the Celtics need to continue to defend him well as he has given the Celtics problems in the past.

Jared Sullinger vs Brook Lopez
Lopez is averaging a team best 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, which he did in Friday's game, keeping him to 14 points on 5-8 shooting along with 7 rebounds.

Honorable Mention
Amir Johnson vs Thaddeus Young
Young is averaging 15.8 points, 8.0 rebounds, 1.5 assists. In Friday's game he scored 14 points to go with 10 rebounds, including 3 on the offensive end. Amir needs to box him out to keep him off the boards and keep him from getting hot on offense.

Bench vs Bench
The Celtics depth is one of their biggest strengths. It has taken a hit with Marcus Smart being out but they still should have the advantage. The Celtics reserves must outplay their counterparts on the Nets.

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.

- In the 8 games before their game vs Boston, 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. In their first meeting the Celtics had 39 assists to just 17 for the Nets. They have to continue to play team ball in this game.

Take Care of the Ball
- The Celtics are averaging 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. The Celtics had just 14 rebounds in Friday's game to 19 for the Nets. They need to limit their turnovers in this game as well.

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.

Motivation - The Celtics have the motivation of wanting to better their draft pick and to dominate a division rival. The Nets will be looking to avenge the 25 point loss on Friday. Which motivation will be stronger.

Smart's Injury - How much will Smart's injury affect the play and chemistry of the team? Hopefully they will be able to compensate, especially on the defensive end.

Officiating - At best, the officiating in the NBA is inconsistent. In Friday's contest they called a total of 32 fouls. The Celtics play better when the refs let both teams play and don't call ticky tack fouls on them for playing defense.

Official Report
James Capers
The son of former NBA official James Capers Sr., James Capers has officiated 1,172 regular season games, 78 Playoff games and five NBA Finals games during his 20-season NBA career. In addition to his NBA experience, Capers has six years of CBA officiating experience, including three CBA Finals and two CBA All-Star Games. I've seen several posts from Lakers fans who swear he hates the Lakers. At least he has that in his favor. In 2012, Capers called game 2 of the ECF and the officiating was terrible in that game. The Heat shot 47 free throws to 29 for the Celtics. Pierce, Dooling and Pietrus all fouled out. There were bad calls and missed calls throughout the game. Lebron James took 24 free throws himself, only 4 less than the entire Celtics team.

He was lead official in the Nets game that resulted in a brawl two seasons before last. Capers gave Doc a T for yelling to Rondo. They let the Nets get away with pushing and shoving and hard fouls the entire first half. The Nets shot 17 free throws to 5 for the Celtics in the first half and 3 of those free throws were on technicals. They did better in the second half after the brawl, but the refs' failure to call the game evenly in the first half led to the fight. Last season, he called the Golden State game and made a terrible call to end the first half on a last second heave. Even the Warriors fans thought it was a terrible call. The calls all went the Warriors way down the stretch and Warriors fans couldn't believe how they were getting the benefit of all the questionable calls. The Celtics are 2-8 in their last 10 games with Capers. The Nets are 4-6 in their last 10 with Capers. He is a homer ref with a home W/L record this season of 7-3.

Kevin Cutler
Kevin Cutler is entering his sixth NBA season after having officiated 276 games in his first five seasons. Cutler owns six years of collegiate officiating experience, including the 2009 NIT and the 2010 NCAA Tournament. Additionally, Cutler worked two NBA D-League Finals as well as the 2008 NBA D-League All-Star Game. Cutler called a game against the Pacers last season and there were a series of terrible calls down the stretch of that game, including an out of bounds call that was obviously wrong and which gave the game to the Pacers. The Celtics are 4-6 over their last 10 with Cutler. The Nets are also 4-6 over their last 10 games with Cutler. His home W/L record this season is 4-4.

David Guthrie
David Guthrie enters his eleventh season after officiating 582 regular season games and 18 playoff games. Prior to joining the NBA, Guthrie was an official in the CBA, NBA D-League and the New York City Pro Am. He participated in the D-League playoffs in 2003, 2004 and 2005 and the D-League championship games in 2004 and 2005. He officiated at the collegiate level in the ACC, SEC, Colonial, Southern, OVC, ASUN, Big South and SWAC conferences and participated in the 2003 and 2004 NCAA tournaments. In the past, Guthrie has been a decent referee, usually letting the teams play rather than over-officiating. The Celtics are 5-5 in their last 10 games with Guthrie while the Nets are 6-4 in their last 10 with Guthrie. His home W/L record is 6-3.