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Nets & Celtics meet for a Boxing Day matinee

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"Fresher than YOUUUUUU"
"Fresher than YOUUUUUU"
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Back to back. After beating the Detroit Pistons on Sunday evening, the Brooklyn Nets played host to the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday and won their second straight game 102-96. The Nets currently find themselves in eighth. place in the Eastern Conference, and they have a good chance to reach sixth before 2014 ends.

Waiting for the Nets will be the Boston Celtics. It was expected to be a rebuilding season, and two months in, that is still the case. They lost their last game on Tuesday 100-95 to the Orlando Magic. As it stands, they're currently 1.5 games behind Brooklyn for the eighth seed, but their focus is building for future success.

Where to follow the game

On television, YES Network is the place to be. On the radio, WFAN 101.9 has got you covered. It's a matinee so tip off will be a bit after 1 PM.

Injuries

Maybe Deron Williams will be back. Williams missed his second consecutive game with an injured right calf and his status is questionable. If he does play, all signs point to him coming off of the bench.

For Boston, ex-Net Marcus Thornton is out with a calf injury.

The game

2014-2015 Season

Brooklyn Boston

Record

12-15 10-16

Pace

94.31 99.98

Offensive Efficiency

100.5 102.5

Defensive Efficiency

103 103.1

Turnover Rate

15.2 14.9

Assist Rate

16.6 18.6

Offensive Rebounding Rate

23.1 25

Rebounding Rate

48.5 50.8

Free Throw Rate

26.6 23.4

Effective Field Goal Percentage

49.2 50.2

Opponent's Effective Field Goal Percentage

49.3 49.9

The Celtics won the first meeting 121-105 in late October. That was also the season opener for both teams.

It's been mentioned a bunch, but the Nets have only won one game against a team that is .500 and above this season. They won't see another one until they travel to Chicago on December 30.

It finally happened. After years of rumors, the C's finally traded Rajon Rondo. Rondo was sent to Dallas on December 18 for Jameer Nelson, Brandan Wright, Jae Crowder and draft picks. As the last part of the most successful Celtics run since the 1980s, Rondo is near and dear to Celtics' fans hearts. Evans Clinchy has more:

What the Celtics really gave up last night, in addition to a four-time All-Star point guard in his prime who happened to be on an expiring contract, was the last gasping breath of a distinct era in franchise history. Rondo was a Celtic for parts of nine seasons; for six of them, the team was a serious playoff threat and one of the most compelling stories in the NBA. They even got to raise the 17th (and possibly last, for a good long while) championship banner to the TD Garden rafters. Rondo was a great player in Boston, but he was more than that. He was a part of history, and for a franchise that values history more than just about any other in American sports. That's a hard thing to trade for bench guys and draft picks. Again, not saying it's wrong, necessarily - just that it's hard.

In the trade rumor department, it looks as if those Nets-Kings discussions are on hold for the time being. For the Celtics, they might be looking to make a trade with the Cleveland Cavaliers, but there isn't anything solid there yet. As always, watch this space.

It's the Mason Plumlee show. Plumlee got the start once again on Tuesday and he had possibly his best game of the season. Plumlee had his fourth double-double since entering the starting lineup on December 10 in Chicago. He scored 19 points, picked up 13 rebounds, and was the best player on the court in the fourth quarter in Tuesday's win over Denver. Brook Lopez is back, but it looks as if he'll be coming off of the bench for the time being. Along with that, the discussion surrounding what the Nets Centers bring to the table will continue. In the meantime, Jared Sullinger will be tasked with manning the boards for Boston. With the changes to Boston's roster, Sullinger has seen his minutes decline in recent games. Tyler Zeller and Kelly Olynyk will see the majority of the minutes for Boston. Olynyk can draw Lopez and Plumlee out to the perimeter with his three point shooting. He's second on the Celtics in three point shooting, making 40 percent of his attempts.

With Rondo gone, Jeff Green is the leading man for Boston. Green leads the team in field goal attempts and minutes played. In that time, he's managed to shoot 45 percent from the field while averaging 19 points a game. What's helped Green this season is where he's taking his shots. He isn't taking as many deep two pointers as usual, and it's helped him get to the free throw line at a career high rate. He'll be dealing with Joe Johnson. Johnson continued the recent run of excellent play after dealing with a stomach virus earlier in the month. His 27 points (and four three pointers made) were a game high and he kept the Nuggets at bay. Having a dependable scoring option like Johnson is essential when the team's two best players are not at the top of their games. Teams are shooting 37 percent from three point range against the Celtics, so look for Johnson and Mirza Teletovic to get some good looks from deep.

Player to watch: Evan Turner

This is the third team in five seasons for the number two pick in the 2010 Draft. In those five seasons, Turner hasn't put together a solid season and this season is no exception. Turner has a career high field goal percentage (46.8 percent), but is also turning the ball over at a career high rate. He's always been a good passer and rebounder for his position, and that hasn't really changed since he's been in Boston. He's got one more season in Boston (he signed a two year deal), but if there's a team that wants him, I'm sure the Celtics would move him.

Nelson and Avery Bradley are the starters, so ET will come off the bench. The Celtics have been worse when he's been on the court, but he only plays 24 minutes a game. Coming off the bench for Brooklyn will be Bojan Bogdanovic. He's struggled since going to the bench, but it's still (relatively) early and there is enough time for him to make adjustments.

From the Vault

More reading: CelticsBlog