Game #37 Preview: New Jersey Nets at Boston Celtics

Coming off of their upset win over the Mavericks, the Nets look to get another win against a playoff contender as they head to Boston to face the Celtics. The Celtics have won their 2 games coming out of the All Star Break and find themselves in the midst of a dogfight for playoff positioning with New York, Cleveland and Milwaukee. Oddly enough, their two wins so far have come against the Cavaliers and Bucks.

Let's take a look at how these two teams matchup:

Offensive efficiency

Defensive efficiency

FT rate

Turnover rate

Offensive Reb%

Effective FG%

Opponent effective FG%

New Jersey
















League Average








A few things to note here:

Offense around the league is down this year from where it has been the past couple of seasons, and the Celtics are no exception to that trend. A dogged schedule, injuries, playing at the second slowest pace in the NBA, a lot of turnovers, and an older roster will certainly slow you down on offense. The defense is still outstanding, and provided they make the playoffs, they should be in a lot of close games based on the strength of their team D.

As for New Jersey, they're coming off of a solid defensive effort against the Mavericks, holding them to only a 40% eFG%. On the year, the Mavs shot 48% from the floor. Defending the three point line will be critical for both teams, as the Nets are 2nd in attempts(11th in percentage made) while the Celtics are 1st in opponent 3 point % made and tied for 2nd in attempts. On the other side of that coin, the Nets are last in opponent 3 point percentage while Boston is 6th in percentage made.

And before we dive into the individual matchups, let's take a look back at a famous moment in playoff history that involved the Nets and Celtics. Believe me, I tried to find a better moment from a Nets perspective, but no such luck.

Tip-off is 7:30. Time to jump!

Point guard: Deron Williams vs. Rajon Rondo

His shot wasn't falling for him against Dallas (3/15 from the field), but he did contribute to the win with 12 assists. We should expect his efficiency to reach pre-Nets standards at some point, but it'll be a challenge against this defense.

There's been talks of Boston cleaning out their roster and doing a complete rebuild, and Rondo is at the center of that. I'll get to that later. Moving on from trade stuff, the knock on Rondo has always been that he's useless shooting the ball past 10 feet, but he's always been a player that contributes in other areas. As basketball fans know, he's an excellent passer (2nd in Assist %), above average rebounder (rebound rate of 8, league average for PGs is 6) and is a more than capable defender (opponent PER of 11.5). As for his shooting, a 52% TS% isn't all that great, but you can live with it if he is good in the other areas.

Advantage: Nets

Shooting guard: Marshon Brooks vs. Ray Allen

Since it was the Brook Lopez show vs. Dallas, Brooks didn't shoot the ball as much. It's a safe bet to assume he'll be more involved in this game.

Ray Allen is still awesome at basketball. He's not the player he was as a Milwaukee Buck, but the future Hall-of-Famer is still a deadly shooter, as evidenced by his being 3rd in the league in effective field goal percentage and 6th in True Shooting percentage. If he wanted to, he could probably play until his mid 40s.

Advantage: Celtics

Small Forward: DeShawn Stevenson vs. Paul Pierce

Stevenson is nothing on offense, so all of his attention should be focused on slowing down Pierce.

Paul Pierce is still a solid player. He missed some time at the beginning of the season with a right heel injury and recently hinted at a hip injury. Despite that, he's been the Celtics go to man on offense (team high usage rate) and has been able to maintain his efficiency on offense (.541 TS%), as he has been able to do throughout his career. And like Rondo and Allen, he's the subject of trade rumors.

Advantage: Celtics

Power forward: Kris Humphries vs. Brandon Bass

The Celtics are the 5th worst rebounding team in the league. Kris Humphries is awesome at rebounding. If everything goes as they have been, Humphries should be a force on the glass.

Getting Brandon Bass for Glen Davis was one of the best moves of the past offseason. While Davis got a 4 year deal from the Magic and has been completely useless, Bass has been great for the Celtics. He's been above average on the boards and is a decent enough player on the offensive side of the boards. Sort of like Kris Humphries.

Advantage: Even

Center: Brook Lopez vs. Kevin Garnett

Well, it looks like Brook is all the way back and is ready to contribute this second half of the season. In Dallas, he played 36 minutes and was a farce inside. Of his 28 shots, 21 of them were inside of 10 feet and was 14-21. From now til the trade deadline, the microscope will be on Brook as everyone wonders whether or not he's gonna get traded for Dwight Howard.

Kevin Garnett is still enough of a force that you need to worry about him if you're the opposition. Is he the two-way player that had many battles against Tim Duncan, Karl Malone, Rasheed Wallace and all the other great big men who have been in the league sibce KG entered the NBA in 1995? No. But is he still a player who is good on the glass, an efficient shooter and a source of pride and motivation for the Celtics and their fans? Absolutely. Normally he's at the power forward, but Jermaine O'neal is injured again (surprise, surprise) and KG is filling in admirably.

Advantage: Celtics


New Jersey: Anthony Morrow, Gerald Green, Shelden Williams, Johan Petro, Sundiata Gaines

Boston: Chris Wilcox, Mickael Pietrus, Avery Bradley, Keyon Dooling

Advantage: Even


I've always felt that if the Celtics were at full strength in 2009 or 2010, they probably would've won another title.

Rajon Rondo for Steph Curry? That's not a bad deal for either side.

I could understand why Ainge allegedly wants to rebuild. You'd rather blow it up and start all over instead of being stuck being second round fodder for the real championship teams.

The next 5 games for the Nets are: at Charlotte, at Miami, home for the Clippers, at Charlotte, and home for Houston.

Journey through the dark side: CelticsBlog

The mothership: Nets vs Celtics coverage

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