The Celtics return from the All Star break with a 2 sport street journey that begins in Brooklyn towards division rival Nets. That is the second sport this season towards the Nets. The Nets received in Boston on Christmas day 123-95. They are going to play yet another time this season on April 23 in Brooklyn.
The Nets will not be the identical crew that beat the Celtics on Christmas Day. They traded for James Harden, who has performed nice up to now and he makes a giant distinction for them. Kevin Durant has been dominated out for this sport as he tries to return again from a hamstring damage. The Nets signed Blake Griffin over the All Star break and at first he was anticipated to play on this sport however he’s being held out as a precaution as he offers with knee soreness.
The Nets are 2nd within the East, simply half a sport behind the 76ers, who’re nonetheless in first place. They’re 13-6 at dwelling and 9-1 of their final 10 video games. They’ve a 2 sport win streak. The Celtics are again in 4th place after a 4 sport win streak going into the break. They’re 6-4 of their final 10 video games and are 7-12 on the street. They’re simply half a sport forward of the Knicks in fifth place and 1 sport forward of the Warmth in sixth place.
Marcus Sensible practiced with the crew on Wednesday and stated afterward that he felt good and deliberate to return to motion after lacking the final 18 video games. I’m guessing that he’ll return to the beginning lineup and transfer Tristan Thompson to the bench and Daniel Theis to heart. Romeo Langford was cleared to observe for the primary time on Wednesday, however was put into the covid protocols and might want to clear that earlier than he can play.
Kevin Durant has been out with a hamstring damage and can stay out for this sport. Bruce Brown began in his place within the Nets final sport and so I’ve him within the beginning lineup for this sport. Jeff Inexperienced has been out with a shoulder damage and can be a sport time determination. Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot is a sport time determination with a knee damage. Spencer Dinwiddie is out for the season with a knee damage.
Possible Celtics Starters
Marcus Sensible (calf) possible
Romeo Langford (covid) out
Possible Nets Starters
Tyler Cook dinner
Spencer Dinwiddie (knee) out
Kevin Durant (hamstring) out
Blake Griffin (knee) out
Jeff Inexperienced (shoulder) sport time determination
Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot (knee) sport time determination
Kemba Walker vs Kyrie Irving
Irving is averaging 27.4 factors, 4.8 rebounds, and 6.0 assists this season. He’s a menace to attain in and out. He put up 37 factors within the Christmas Day sport. Kyrie is capturing 51% from the sector and 41% from past the arc. He’s not a terrific defender, although, so hopefully Kemba continues to play nicely and might match Kyrie’s scoring.
Marcus Sensible vs James Harden
Harden is averaging 25.2 factors, 7.7 rebounds and 11 assists per sport. Harden is capturing 49.7% from the sector and 42.2% from three as a Web. Hopefully Sensible can be again for this sport, though he can be on a minutes restriction and also will possible be out of sport form after lacking 18 video games. Nonetheless, he has gotten into Harden’s head previously and if anybody can sluggish him down, even not at full energy, it’s Marcus Sensible.
Honorable Point out
Jayson Tatum vs Joe Harris
Harris is a really environment friendly scorer. He’s averaging 14.7 factors, 3.6 rebounds and 1.8 assists. He shoots 53% from the sector and 50.6% from past the arc. Tatum wants to stay with him on the perimeter or he may have a giant scoring evening.
Keys to the Sport
Protection – Protection will all the time be the important thing to profitable. The Nets are twenty sixth with a defensive ranking of 113.6 whereas the Celtics are sixteenth with a defensive ranking of 111.7. The Celtics should make protection a precedence because the Nets common 121.1 factors per sport and the Celtics is not going to win a shoot out with them. The Nets are 1st within the league, capturing 50.0% from the sector and 2nd in 3 level share with 40.7%. The Celtics should play powerful protection each inside and on the perimeter.
Rebound – Together with protection, rebounding is a key to profitable. You must have the ball to attain and one method to get the ball is to seize rebounds. A lot of rebounding is effort and the Celtics must put out the additional effort to beat the Nets to the rebounds.
Play Workforce Ball – When the Celtics transfer the ball and discover the open man they’re powerful to beat however after they lapse into hero ball, they battle. The Nets are averaging 27.2 assists per sport and that reveals that they thrive on ball motion and trusting one another. When the Celtics have excessive help totals they often win and so they play nicely. Once they have fewer than 20 assists per sport, they often lose. They have to belief one another and play crew ball.
Play 48 Minutes – The Celtics should come out robust at first and never fall right into a gap early. Additionally they need to play laborious all through the sport and never slack off on effort for any time frame throughout the sport proper up till the ultimate buzzer. Whether or not they’re shut or have a lead or are behind, they need to have constant focus and energy for all 48 minutes.
Revenge Issue – The Celtics misplaced to the Nets on the nationwide stage on Christmas Day. They need to be trying to avenge that loss and even the sequence on this sport.
On the Highway – The Celtics are simply 7-12 on the street. They haven’t confronted hostile crowds for essentially the most half however there are different elements that may have an effect on their focus, particularly for youthful gamers. The Celtics must hold their focus and never permit the distractions of taking part in on the street get them sidetracked.
Officiating – Simply as protection will all the time be a key to the sport, officiating can all the time be an x-factor. NBA officiating is like Forrest Gump’s field of sweets – you by no means know what you’ll get. The Celtics have to regulate to nevertheless the officers are calling the sport.