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Celtics visit Nets hoping to improve their draft pick

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The Celtics begin a two-game road trip with a stop in Brooklyn where the Nets being bad is in the Celtics best interests.

Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

at
Boston Celtics (2-1) at Brooklyn Nets (1-2)
Thursday, October 13, 2016
7:30 pm ET
Preseason Game #4
TV: CSNNE, YES, NBA-LP
Barclays Center
Mike Callahan, Mark Lindsay, Brett Nansel
The Celtics start a mini road trip with a visit to the Brooklyn Nets. They will continue on the road to play the Knicks on Saturday before returning home for the final two games of the preseason. This will be a good preparation for the start of the regular season since they will be playing 18 of their first 29 games on the road.

The Celtics last played on Saturday and so should be well rested and ready to play. They have had 4 practices since their last game which should help their chemistry. The Celtics core has been together for a year already and so the practices will help to work Al Horford, Jaylen Brown and Gerald Green into the rotation.

The Nets on the other hand have just 5 players left from their 2015-16 roster. The 5 returning players are Brook Lopez, who is in his 9th season with the Nets, Bojan Bogdanovic who in his 3rd season, and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Chris McCullough, and Sean Kilpatrick who are all in their 2nd season with the Nets. Everyone else on the roster is new to the team this season.

Along with all the new players, the Nets also have a new coach. Kenny Atkinson begins his first season as a head coach in the league after spending the past 4 seasons as an assistant in Atlanta.

The Celtics and the Nets fortunes are intertwined because the Celtics own the Nets' draft pick this season and so when the Celtics beat the Nets, it's like a double win. These two teams will meet once again in the preseason on October 17.



Possible Starters

PG: Isaiah Thomas 4
SG: Avery Bradley 0
SF: Jae Crowder 99
PF: Al Horford 42
C: Amir Johnson 90

Probable Reserves
Ben Bentil 50
Jaylen Brown 7
Marcus Georges-Hunt 45
Gerald Green 30
RJ Hunter 28
Demetrius Jackson 9
Jonas Jerebko 8
Jalen Jones 52
Damion Lee 56
Jordan Mickey 55
Terry Rozier 12
Marcus Smart 36
James Young 13
Tyler Zeller 44

Injuries

Kelly Olynyk (shoulder) out

Head Coach: Brad Stevens




Possible Starters

PG: Jeremy Lin 7
SG: Randy Foye 2
SF: Rondae Hollis-Jefferson 24
PF: Trevor Booker 36
C: Brook Lopez 11

Possible Reserves
Beau Beech 9
Anthony Bennett 13
Bojan Bogdanovic 44
Chase Budinger 34
Yogi Ferrell 10
Joe Harris 12
Jorge Gutierrez 0
Justin Hamilton 41
Sean Kilpatrick 6
Chris McCullough 1
Egidijus Mockevicius 55
Luuis Scola 4
Greivis Vasquez 21
Isaiah Whitehead 15

Injuries
Caris LeVert (foot) out

Head Coach
Kenny Atkinson

Key Matchups
vs
Isaiah Thomas vs Jeremy Lin
Linsanity is back in the Big Apple with Jeremy Lin joining the Nets this season. He is averaging 18.5 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists per game. Isaiah needs to try to limit Lin's offense while at the same time, making him work on defense.

vs
Amir Johnson vs Brook Lopez
Lopez is averaging just 5.5 points and 1.5 rebounds but he is capable of putting up big numbers and the Celtics need to keep him from doing so.

Keys to the Game
Defense - Defense wins games. The Celtics have the players to be a top defensive team and they need to work together to play tough team defense. They especially need to play tough perimeter defense since the Nets have been shooting at least 33 three pointers per game and the Celtics need to keep them from hitting a high percentage of them.

Rebound - The Celtics can't score if they don't have the ball. They need to crash the boards to give themselves extra possessions and to keep the Nets from getting second chance points.

Be Offensive - The Celtics need to move the ball and find the open man in order to get open shots. They need to also take the shots when they are open and not be too unselfish and pass up good shots to make the extra pass.

Teamwork - The Celtics need to continue to build chemistry and to play as a team. They need to keep their motto of "We are One Superstar" and continue to play for each other and the team. Hero ball rarely ends well.

Reserve Play - We have seen the reserves come out flat in the first game, play well off the bench in the second game and then start and play well the entire game. The Celtics need the reserves to play well, especially with the starters playing limited minutes. As the bench goes so goes the Celtics.

X-Factors
Rust vs Rest
The Celtics haven't played since Saturday. They should come into this game well rested, but they also could come out a bit rusty. Hopefully they can shake off any rust early and get the win.