New Jersey at Boston
7:30 P.M. ET
Boston: 104.1 points/100 possessions (5th)
New Jersey: 92.4 points/100 possessions (29th)
Boston: 103.3 points allowed/100 possessions (22nd)
New Jersey: 107.9 points allowed/100 possessions (29th)
Key Injuries: Boston: Mickael Pietrus (knee) is out. Ray Allen (flu) unlikely. New Jersey: Deron Williams (ribs), Kris Humphries (shoulder) and Brook Lopez (foot) are all out. Yikes!
Probable New Jersey Starters: Sundiata Gaines (PG), Marshon Brooks (SG), Damion James (SF), Shelden Williams (PF), Mehmet Okur (C)
View From The Opposing Bench: Nets Are Scorching
Thumbnail: This could get ugly. The Nets are fielding the equivalent of a D-League team tonight against the Celtics with Williams, Lopez and Humphries all out. Even with Williams, the Nets have proven to be one of the worst teams in the league (they’re second to last offfensively and defensively). After that ugly 0-3 start, the Celtics have won three in a row, and barring a letdown of mythological proportions, should make that four by the final buzzer tonight.
Pregame Analysis: The Celtics have advantages at every single position on the floor, and only at the center position is the matchup even close (whether it’s Jermaine O’Neal or Greg Stiemsma). The Celtics also have home court advantage tonight. There is absolutely no reason the C’s shouldn’t win this game and four reasons (Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett) why they should blow out the Nets.
The counterpoint to all this sunniness is the notion that Boston might play down to New Jersey’s level, something they’ve proven capable of doing over the last few years. The Nets could just try and out-energy and out-hustle the Celtics. But I still think the talent gap is far too great for this to turn out as anything else but an easy Celtics win (if Brandon Bass was starting for the Nets tonight, he’d be their best player).
Update: Ray Allen now expected to miss tonight’s game with the flu.
PREDICTION: Boston 112 New Jersey 89