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Brooklyn Nets, Boston Celtics try "short game"

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Lintao Zhang

Calling it "historic" might be a little over the top.  After all it's a preseason game on a Sunday in October. But for the first time, two NBA teams will play a 44-minute game, four quarters of 11 minutes, aka the "short game."

There's not a lot else of interest here. The Nets will be playing only three days after flying home from Beijing, where they beat the Kings in an overtime game.  The Celtics are once again trying to find a way to win without Rajon Rondo, who's recovering from a broken hand.

One thing that could be of interest for Nets fans is what Mirza Teletovic can provide as a starter. The 6'9" Bosnian will start again at power forward, whether Kevin Garnett sits with a stomach virus or not. If KG is healthy, then it will be Teletovic and Garnett. If not, it will be Teletovic and Mason Plumlee. Brook Lopez, of course, is out with his "mild" sprain. Other than the "short game," the game will be historic for another reason: two of Mostar's native sons, Teletovic and Bojan Bogdanovic, will start in an NBA game (in the US!)

For the Celtics, it's been a tough summer. In addition to losing Rondo (again), Celtic fans expected more with all their assets. Instead of getting Kevin Love, they wound up with Tyler Zeller, ex-Net Marcus Thornton and Evan Turner, who's been filling in for Rondo, and not well. They also came up with two picks, Marcus Smart and James Young, taken with the Nets first round pick. Don't be surprised to see Markel Brown, the Nets rookie, get some minutes vs. Smart,  his backcourt mate at Oklahoma State. The Celtics haven't played since Thursday but may be without Young, who has a sore hamstring.

The Nets will play three of their next four games --two preseason and Opening Night-- vs. the Celtics. The Celtics next three games are against the Nets.

Where to follow the game

YES! The Nets on YES makes its debut Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m. In addition, NBA TV will cover the game. It's a late add because of the 44-minute game.

Player to Watch: Mirza Teletovic

As Mike Mazzeo reports...

"I think everything in life is experience," Teletovic said Saturday. "Year to year, if you keep playing for a team, you always understand more. You’re gonna learn more, and for me I really feel comfortable -- especially because I’ve been playing now for three years with Joe [Johnson], with Deron [Williams], with Brook [Lopez]. And KG [Kevin Garnett] this is my second year with him. They really make it easy for me, they talk to me, they have a lot of experience, so whatever I have trouble with I can ask them. And Coach [Lionel] Hollins is unbelievable. I talk to him every time and if I make a mistake, he tells me, ‘You did it now but just try to get better at it.’"

Teletovic has been terrific in the first three games, all wins, in the preseason. He's averaging 15 points a game and 7.3 rebounds in 27 minutes. He's shooting better than 50 percent from both two- and three-point range.  And he has confidence, confidence, confidence.

Since NBA TV is broadcasting the game, fans in Bosnia and Croatia should be able to watch just after sundown.

Ajmo Mostarci!

From the Vault

This is an easy.  Here is the Celtics tribute to Garnett and Paul Pierce from last season.

Something else to watch. After acquiring Will Bynum two days ago, the Celtics are looking to waive him. That, more than this game, is going to the big news for Boston fans.

The Nets play again Monday vs. the 76ers and Wednesday in Boston. Then, after that, the Nets have a week off, other than the Open Practice a week from Sunday, before traveling to TD Garden for Opening Night.