New Jersey at Boston
7:30 P.M. ET
Boston: 105.1 points/100 possessions (13th)
New Jersey: 99.8 points/100 possessions (28th)
Boston: 97.6 points allowed/100 possessions (2nd)
New Jersey: 106 points allowed/100 possessions (19th)
Probable New Jersey Starters: Devin Harris (PG), Anthony Morrow (SG), Travis Marquez Outlaw (SF), Derrick Bernard Favors (PF), Brook Lopez (C)
View from the Opposing Bench: Nets Are Scorching
The Nets roll in from Paterson or Short Hills or Toms River or wherever they’re playing now for the third game in their season series against the Celtics. For a division rival, it seems like a while since we saw the Nets. The C’s played them twice in late November-early December, and Nate Robinson started both games. Neither one was all that competitive, but we all remember the nadir of last season, when the Celtics solidified their swoon with a loss to an even worse Nets team. Trap game for sure. Let’s get into it.
WHAT THE NETS DO WELL
Defensive rebound? They’re tenth in the league, but that’s what qualifies for “well” with these goofballs. Kris Humphries, take a bow!
Make things boring for everyone. 4th lowest pace in the league at 91.8 possessions per game. It’s my impression that all of the starters can run reasonably well, and that Avery Johnson likes pushing the pace as a coach. So…anyway.
WHAT THE NETS DO POORLY
Score baskets. They can’t score at the rim (3rd worst in the league). They can’t hit midrange or long jumpers (9th worst). They’re sub-average from three-point territory (13th worst), which means that this is probably not going to happen. The only location from which they hit pretty well is inside ten feet, where they’re 6th best in the league thanks to Johan Petro and Terrence Williams, who’s taken his talents at destroying team chemistry to Houston.
Force turnovers. They’re last in the league, although it seems to me that a decent percentage of Rondo’s turnovers are unforced, so we’ll see if this makes any difference.
PLAYERS WHO MAKE ME WORRY
Kris Humphries, potentially? Again, he’s a very good rebounder now.
Plus, Kim Kardashian and I are very close, personally, and I’m worried she’s going to get her heart broken again. She and Kris spent Valentine’s Day apart, and she pretended like she didn’t care, but we went scarf shopping two days ago and she told me it really devastated her. “This is Ray J all over again,” I said. “I know,” she said. “Mm-hmmm.” I said. “So crazy,” she said.
PLAYERS WHO DO NOT MAKE ME WORRY
Where…to…begin…Brook Lopez? Still in the midst of a pronounced decline from what was supposed to be his breakout year last year, most notably represented by a huge drop in his total rebound rate? He could find no purchase against the Celtics interior in the first two games: he went 7 for 20 overall with a total of 11 rebounds, and Shaq dropped 25 points on him in the first game. He misses Ryan Anderson! Sure, they can always read Hellblazer to each other over the phone, but it’s not the same!
Travis Outlaw? Passably underrated two years ago in Portland, he is now arguably the league’s worst player. That may seem like an outrageous claim, but he gets a huge amount of usage (played all 55 games, 30 MPG) for someone with a PER of 8.70. He was never a great rebounder, and that hasn’t changed, but what has changed is he absolutely cannot shoot anymore. He’s taken more threes than ever this year and dropped a full seven points on his percentage. Just very terrible. I remember him lighting up the Celtics a couple times when he was on the Blazers, but I don’t see that happening today, no matter how gimpy Pierce is.
Sasha Vujacic? Have his Nets teammates learned to hate him like the Lakers did yet? (THIS VIDEO HAS A SWEAR IN IT)
WHAT WE WANT TO SEE TONIGHT
Just a big ol’ win. Light minutes all around. Paul Pierce’s foot to stay on his ankle. No injuries, facryinoutloud.
Celtics 103, Nets 92