Brooklyn Nets (0-0) at Boston Celtics (0-0)
Wednesday, October 26, 2016
7:30 PM ET
Regular Season Game #1 Home Game #1
TV: CSNNE, NBA-LP (xfinity 754, DTV 755)
Radio: WZLX 100.7, WFAN 101.9
Referees: Marc Davis, Brian Forte, JT Orr
It's only fitting that the Celtics open the season against the Brooklyn Nets as these two teams are intertwined. With every Nets loss this season, Celtics fans will cheer and with every Celtics win, the Nets fans will be cringing.
In the trade for Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, the Nets surrendered their first-round picks in 2014, 2016, and 2018, and they gave Boston the right to swap first-round picks in 2017. The Celtics have already cashed in the 2014 pick for James Young, who survived the roster cuts to remain with the Celtics for the start of the season. They also cashed in the 2016 pick for Jaylen Brown.
They will most certainly swap picks with the Nets this season as the Nets are predicted to be in competition for the worst record in the league once again. The Nets do seem to be improved somewhat over last season's 21 win team. They brought in Jeremy Lin, Trevor Booker, Randy Foye, and Luis Scola, who are good veterans but not great. They have Rondae Hollis-Jefferson who is a good young prospect and a new coach who has the team playing hard and with energy.
Regardless of the changes and the newfound energy, the Celtics are the better team from top to bottom. The Celtics won two games over the Nets in the preseason already. They won in Brooklyn 100-97 and then, they won in Boston 120-99. The Celtics played mostly their reserves in both games. But the Celtics can't get too confident because as bad as the Nets were last season, one of their 21 wins came against the Celtics.
New head coach, Kenny Atkinson, has the Nets playing an up tempo game and he has them playing hard. The Nets played at the second fastest pace (possessions per game) among preseason teams at 105.7. They were second only to Phoenix who played at a 107.5 pace. When a team plays hard, anything can happen.
The Celtics will still be without Kelly Olynyk, who has begun full contact practices but isn't expected back until mid-November. Marcus Smart left the Celtics' final preseason game with an ankle sprain and is out for this game as well. For the Nets, their rookie, Caris LeVert, is a game time decision with a foot injury. Starting shooting guard, Randy Foye, was injured in practice on Tuesday and is expected to miss this game.
PG: Isaiah Thomas ........................................ SG: Avery Bradley
C: Amir Johnson
SF: Jae Crowder ............................................ PF: Al Horford
Kelly Olynyk (shoulder) out
Marcus Smart (ankle) out
PG: Jeremy Lin ...................................... SG: Randy Foye
C: Brook Lopez
SF: Rondae Hollis-Jefferson .................................... PF: Trevor Booker
Caris LeVert (foot) game time decision
Isaiah Thomas vs Jeremy Lin
Linsanity is back in the Big Apple with Jeremy Lin joining the Nets this season. He is averaging 17.2 points, 2.0 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game. In their first meeting Lin was able to limit Isaiah's production but Smart and Rozier were able to limit Lin. In the second meeting, Isaiah sat out and Lin was held to 13 points. This should be a good matchup.
Amir Johnson vs Brook Lopez
Lopez is averaging 8.0 points and 2.8 rebounds and seemed to be trying to find his way in the Nets new system. He is capable of putting up big numbers and the Celtics need to work to keep him off the boards and to keep him from getting good looks on offense.
Jonas Jerebko vs Luis Scola
Scola gave the Celtics all they could handle in the first meeting scoring 14 points to go with 11 rebounds and 5 assists. The Celtics did better defending him in the second game, holding him to just 4 points 1 rebound and 3 assists. He shot 40.4% from three last season and can make the Celtics pay if they don't guard him beyond the arc.
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 shot at least 30 three pointers per game in the preseason and the Celtics need to keep them from hitting a high percentage of them. The Celtics defense will take a hit if Marcus Smart can't play but the others have to play a bit harder on defense if he can't go.
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. Rebounding takes extra effort and when the Celtics put out that extra effort on the boards, it usually carries over to other parts of their games. In the first meeting between these two teams, the Celtics won the rebounding battle by just 1 and won the game by just 3 points. In the 2nd meeting, the Celtics out-rebounded the Nets 55-34 and they won the game convincingly by 21 points. As the rebounding battle goes, so goes the game.
Smart Offense - The Celtics need to move the ball and find the open man in order to get easy shots. They need to also take the shots when they are open and not be too unselfish and not pass up good shots. They need to realize that if the 3's aren't falling they have to go to the hoop instead of continuing to shoot bricks from the perimeter.
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.
It's the Celtics home opener and the crowd is going to be loud and excited to see Celtics basketball again. The team needs to feed off of their energy. They also can't get too tightly wound and let jitters spoil what should be a big win in their first game of what promises to be a very good season.
Marc Davis has been an NBA official for the past 18 seasons, working 1,113 regular season games, 79 Playoff games, and the 2007 NBA All-Star Game. Davis has officiated eight Finals games during his career. In addition to his NBA experience, Davis has three years of CBA officiating experience and three years of collegiate basketball officiating experience in the OVC and TAAC Junior Colleges. He grew up in Chicago and is still active in the Chicago area.
Davis was investigated for threatening to whoop Allen Iverson's a** when AI complained about a call in a game in 2005, but was not suspended for it. The Celtics history with Davis goes way back also. In 2009, Davis was seen after a Celtics/Bulls game with his family all decked out in Bulls gear. It was Davis that Rajon Rondo bumped in a terribly officiated playoff game vs Atlanta and was ejected and suspended for it.
In a game four seasons ago against the Bulls, the officiating was terrible. With 12 seconds left, Pierce was trapped and fouled, including a busted lip, right in front of Davis with no call. Rondo was signalling for a time out right in Davis' face but they called a jump ball instead of calling the foul or the time out. Even Hubie Brown was talking about how bad the calls were the entire game and Hubie doesn't usually comment on the officiating.
Three seasons ago, in a game against the Kings, Davis even got to the mild mannered Brad Stevens. Davis ignored obvious pushing and shoving by DeMarcus Cousins all night. At one point, Gerald Wallace pointed out an obvious foul by Cousins and was tossed to which Stevens pointed out that he could have thrown out Cousins all game and was tossed as well. He was decent in each of his games two seasons ago and, if anything, in a couple of the games, he gave the Celtics the benefit of the doubt. I wonder if his problem was with Rondo all along and with Rondo gone, he's feeling a kind of kinship with the Celtics. Stranger things have happened,
Davis' only games with the Celtics last season were a win in the preseason over the Nets, a 1 point win over the Knicks, a win at Philly, a loss to Charlotte and a win over Atlanta in the playoffs. All of those games were reasonably well officiated. He missed several calls on both teams against Atlanta but the Celtics seemed to get the the benefit of more calls. He called the loss to Philadelphia in the first preseason game this season. He was voted one of the worst refs in the league by players and coaches in an LA Times survey last season. The Celtics are 7-3 in their last 10 games with Davis while the Nets are 2-8 in their last 10 with Davis.
Brian Forte, who is the son of retired NBA referee Joe Forte, has officiated 531 regular season games and nine Playoff game in 10 NBA seasons. He also officiated the 2011 NBA All-Star Rookie/Sophmore game. He worked for six seasons in the NBA D-League, officiating 126 games. During that time he worked two Finals. He also officiated in several college conferences, including the Southern Conference, where he officiated the 2007 conference tournament final, and the Southeastern Conference, where he officiated the 2007 conference tournament. Forte also was selected to officiate the 2007 NCAA Tournament.
Forte was the object of Tommy's wrath in the classic rant that follows (the T was later rescinded). The officiating in that game was bad both ways.
Forte was one of the refs that officiated a Celtics win in Indiana 3 seasons ago. The officiating in that game was horrible and very one sided toward the Pacers. One of the comments from the Pacers' forum said that they wouldn't blame Celtics fans if they punched out the refs. It's bad when the officiating is so terrible that the opposing fans feel bad about it. Tommy also had this to say, "I hope this group of officials doesn't officiate the playoffs. Holy cow! They are terrible." He's been good in more recent games, however. He called the wins vs Rockets, Sixers, Suns, Nets, Wizards, and Heat last season and the officiating in all of them was good. They let them play and didn't interfere with the flow of the game. The Celtics are 10-0 in their last 10 games with Forte officiating. The Nets are 3-7 in their last 10 with Forte.
J.T. Orr enters his sixth NBA season having officiated 276 regular season games. Orr’s experience includes five seasons and 177 games officiated in the NBA D-League. He also has four seasons of NBA preseason experience and has worked in NBA summer camps for nine years. In addition to his professional experience, Orr officiated collegiate games for 13 years, working the NCAA tournament in 2011 and including service for the PAC 10/12, West Coast and Big West Conferences and multiple small college conferences. He also has 15 years of high school officiating experience.
The Celtics are 7-3 over their last 10 games with Orr as a ref. As with most refs, he can be good or bad. He has called a few one sided games where the Celtics can't get a call and others where the officiating is even. He hasn't been particularly bad in any of his games with the Celtics, however. The Nets are 4-6 in their last 10 games with Orr.