Brooklyn Nets vs. Boston Celtics Pre-Game Report

Jan 4, 2016; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez (11) drives against Boston Celtics center Tyler Zeller (44) during the first quarter at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Jan 4, 2016; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez (11) drives against Boston Celtics center Tyler Zeller (44) during the first quarter at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

The Brooklyn Nets have dropped two straight. Can they get back on track against the Boston Celtics tonight?

After an impressive win against the Detroit Pistons in the first game of the preseason, the Brooklyn Nets have suffered two straight losses to the New York Knicks and Miami Heat. Tonight, they have a chance to bounce back as they take on the Boston Celtics in an Atlantic Division clash.

Most recently, the Nets fell to the Heat 121-100 on Tuesday night. The game was close for the first two quarters, as the Nets led the game by four at halftime. However, the wheels fell off in the third quarter, as the Nets were outscored 37-17 in the third.

Again, it’s important not to look too deeply into the loss, as Brook Lopez (rest) sat out, and Kenny Atkinson is constantly switching things up to get a feel for the team.

The Celtics, on the other hand, are 2-1 thus far in the preseason and are coming off two blowout victories against the Charlotte Hornets.

Over the past two regular seasons, the Nets are 3-5 against Boston in regular season play. Despite Boston usually having a better roster, the Nets have always played them tough.

The bout on Thursday night will be the first of a total of six meetings this season.

Jan 2, 2016; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Celtics forward Amir Johnson (90) guards Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez (11) during the second half at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Nets Keys to Victory

Rebounding

This will be the first time the Nets face off against the new-look Celtics team with Al Horford. It’s been a handful of years since the Celtics had a big man of Horford’s caliber. It will be very interesting to see Lopez and Horford go at it under the boards, as they are arguably two of the top 10 centers in the NBA.

When the Nets played the Pistons, Andre Drummond dominated for 21 rebounds, while the Pistons as a whole out-rebounded the Nets by 15.

In their most recent contest, Heat center Hassan Whiteside racked up 14 rebounds, while the Heat as a team out-rebounded the Nets by 18.

Given, Lopez was resting against the Heat, but it’s clear the Nets are struggling in the rebound department. If Lopez and the Nets can contain Horford and the Celtics from dominating the boards, they can greatly improve their chances of winning.

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Strong play from someone not named Jeremy Lin or Brook Lopez

It’s preseason, so these are the times where the role players can earn more minutes. In the Nets case, this is extremely important, as they carry a bunch of young players who are fighting for minutes this season.

So far, many players have made solid contributions, as seven Nets have had double-digit points at least once. However, no one has been eye-catching just yet (besides Jeremy Lin, who is leading the team with 18.5 points per game). A big game from a player not named Jeremy Lin or Brook Lopez will not only take the weight off of the two veterans, but it will improve the team’s confidence as a whole.

If the Nets want to be a competitive team this season, someone besides Lin and Lopez needs to become a reliable option. Potential candidates of this are Bojan Bogdanovic, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Joe Harris, and Trevor Booker.

Players To Watch

Nets: Joe Harris (G) – averaging 11.0 points per game, shooting 70% from three-point in preseason

Celtics: Al Horford (C) – averaging 10.5 points per game, 8 rebounds per game

Jan 4, 2016; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Boston Celtics center Tyler Zeller (44) keeps Brooklyn Nets guard Bojan Bogdanovic (44) from the net during the second quarter at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Projected Starters:

Nets:

  • PG: Jeremy Lin
  • SG: Joe Harris
  • SF: Bojan Bogdanovic
  • PF: Trevor Booker
  • C: Brook Lopez

Celtics:

Injuries:

Nets:

Celtics:

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