Oct 26, 2016; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Celtics forward Gerald Green (30) returns the ball against Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez (11) in the second quarter at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
The Brooklyn Nets are on a four game losing streak, dropping their record to 4-9. The Boston Celtics come to Brooklyn tonight for a rematch of opening night.
The Brooklyn Nets are taking a visit from the 8-6 Boston Celtics. The Celtics won the first matchup of the season both of the year and the divisional rivalry, 122-117. Brooklyn was down over 20 points throughout most of that game. Late in the fourth, though, Brooklyn, led by their bench, came to within three points with a minute to go.
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The Celtics started off the season 3-0 and have since been 5-6. Boston is also coming to town on back-to-back victories. They were not convincing victories, but they were victories nonetheless. Brooklyn, meanwhile, has had to go up against some of the NBA’s best point guards the past four games. Without Jeremy Lin, it is understandable that Brooklyn was hardly a match for any of the teams, besides the Lakers.
Boston is another team with a stellar point guard in Isaiah Thomas. It will be fun to see what mixes and matches Coach Atkinson uses in this game to try and get the most production. As of now, the philosophy should be to feed Brook Lopez the ball.
Oct 26, 2016; Boston, MA, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Bojan Bogdanovic (44) works for the rebound against Boston Celtics guard Avery Bradley (0) in the second half at TD Garden. The Celtics defeated the Brooklyn Nets 122-117. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
Keys to Victory:
1. Feed Brook Lopez the ball
As stated above, feed Brook Lopez the rock. Lopez has been on a tear of late scoring over 20 points or more in his last three games. Lopez also started off Sunday’s game against the Blazers 7-of-7 from the field. With Jeremy Lin inactive, Brook is your guy. Feed him the rock and reap the fruits of his play.
There are not scorers on this team besides Bojan Bogdanovic and Sean Kilpatrick. Neither of these players are going to have it each and every night. It is up to Lopez to pick up the slack every night until Lin can come back. Once he does, Lopez can take a much-deserved breather.
2. Start Yogi Ferrell
Yogi Ferrell is the only true point guard on this team when Jeremy Lin is inactive. You can see that Isaiah Whitehead is not a point guard. He makes bad decisions and he does not set up too many plays or baskets. Whitehead definitely has a solid skill-set and can and will be a solid player for this team, but Ferrell should start ahead of Whitehead at the point guard position.
Ferrell is the all-time leader in assists at Indiana University, which, for those who may not know, is an amazing and prestigious basketball school. He has 16 assists in six games, which is 2.7 per game. Whitehead, in those same six games, has a total of six. All six of Whitehead’s assists came in the past two games, one of which he started.
Coach Atkinson should give Ferrell the chance to start, especially against a similarly short point guard in Isaiah Thomas. Ferrell would actually have the height advantage, and it would be fun to see him showcase his skills for Brooklyn to see.
3. Keep Sean Kilpatrick on the bench
Sean Kilpatrick was killing it this season off of the bench. Then Jeremy Lin got injured. Skillpatrick was then inserted into the starting lineup in place of Lin. Needless to say, it has not been pretty. Kilpatrick has not eclipsed 15 points in the last four contests. He has taken 42 shots in the past four games and has made a measly 12 of them. That equates to a pathetic 28.6 percentage overall.
Brooklyn has had a good amount of rest as of late, so fans should hope Kilpatrick has hit the gym to work out the kinks in his shot. Until he does, keep him on the bench. If and when he gets it back, keep him on the bench. It is evident that is where he is most comfortable.
Players to Watch
Brooklyn: Brook Lopez is a player to watch simply because he did not bring it on opening night. Now, with Jeremy Lin gone, he will need to bring it. The Nets only lost by five points that night. Maybe if Lopez produces Brooklyn can emerge victorious.
Boston: Jaylen Brown will be looked at closely in this one, as Jae Crowder is out with an injury. Brown is assumed to be the replacement in the starting lineup. Also, Brown was the number three pick in this year’s past draft, a pick Boston only had because Billy King is a genius.
Oct 26, 2016; Boston, MA, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Bojan Bogdanovic (44) works the ball against Boston Celtics forward Gerald Green (30) in the second half at TD Garden. The Celtics defeated the Brooklyn Nets 122-117. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
Brook Lopez vs. Al Horford. These are both great big men for their teams, and they are both highly offensive minds. Horford can score from anywhere on the floor, and, still to many’s surprise, Brook Lopez can too. This will be a fun one to watch. It should be interesting to see who wins the three-point battle on the night. Also, it should be interesting to see who garners more rebounds. Horford is typically a better rebounder than Lopez, but that really is not saying much.
Sean Kilpatrick looks to get back on track, as mentioned above. He needs to find his stroke to allow Brooklyn’s bench to be the most productive it can be. Isaiah Whitehead will also look to get more on track after a dinker of a game against Portland. Brooklyn’s offense has not slowed down too much, and their defense still remains one of the worst in the league. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson is supposed to be a tough defender, but Brooklyn has only seen glimpses of it this season. The defense really needs to get better.