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The Nets host the Celtics as Deron Williams remains 'Doubtful'

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Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Close, but not close enough. After a loss to the Miami Heat on Sunday night, the Brooklyn Nets came home to begin the home portion of their 2015 schedule. They rallied late to get the game into overtime, but ultimately fell to the Dallas Mavericks by a final score of 96-88.

Playing in Brooklyn this evening will be the Boston Celtics. The Celtics have struggled recently, having lost their last three ballgames. The latest come on Monday night at home against the Charlotte Hornets. This is the first night of a three game road trip for the C's. They travel to Indiana and Toronto after this.

Where to follow the game

On the TV side, head to the YES Network. For the radio crew, WFAN 101.9 has got you. Tip off is scheduled for a bit after 7:30 PM.

Injuries

Deron Williams sat out last game with a sore left side and is listed as doubtful for this contest.

For Boston, Jameer Nelson and Marcus Thornton are both questionable. Nelson's dealing with an ankle injury while Thornton is hampered by a bad ankle.

2014-2015 Season

Brooklyn Boston

Record

16-18 11-21

Pace

94.43 100.09

Offensive Efficiency

100.2 101.5

Defensive Efficiency

102.6 103

Turnover Rate

15.1 14.7

Assist Rate

16.5 18.6

Offensive Rebounding Rate

22.7 24

Rebounding Rate

48.7 49.6

Free Throw Rate

27.3 22.6

Effective Field Goal Percentage

48.9 49.9

Opponent's Effective Field Goal Percentage

49.5 49.6

The Celtics won the first meeting on Opening Night. The Nets won the second one the day after Christmas.

Who's up for more trade discussion?! On the Nets side of things, the team reportedly was in talks with the Oklahoma City Thunder to send Brook Lopez there as a salary dump. It didn't happen, but with the trade deadline inching closer, the rumors will start to pick up.

This promises to be a style clash. Boston plays at the league's second fastest pace while Brooklyn plays at the fifth slowest. The Nets have had their difficulties with young, athletic teams and Boston is no exception.

After a bad performance, a veteran player calls out his team for being selfish and playing as well as they need to. Sounds familiar? Back in November, Joe Johnson did that to the Nets, and now Jared Sullinger is doing that with Boston. There's a lot of blame to go around, and  while they rebuild, moments like this will occasionally pop up.

Speaking of Lopez, he's really been playing well as of late. He's always been a great scorer in the low post, and now he's starting to improve on the glass. Lopez is a great option for the Nets inside and he should have another good game.Brook only played 11 minutes last time against Boston, but figures to play a lot more than that provided he stays out of foul trouble.

Jeff Green is the number one option for Boston now, and he hasn't adjusted to the role well. He's averaging a career high in points per game, but is only shooting 41 percent from the field and 31 percent from deep despite taking almost five three pointers a night. Green has been in the league since 2007 and this might be the best he will become. As for tonight, he will match up with the ex Celtic (for about half a season in 2001-2002) Johnson. Johnson has struggled as of late, in particular from three point range. He's only made five out of his last 19 attempts. Even with those struggles, he's still the person the Nets should rely on in late and close situations.

Player to watch: Avery Bradley

With his backcourt partner now in Dallas, Bradley is now the longest tenured Celtic. This is Bradley's fifth season in the league and he's earned the reputation of being one of the league's better perimeter defenders. The team is four points per 100 possessions worse defensively when Bradley is off of the court.

Assuming Williams sits this out, Bradley will spend time guarding Jarrett Jack. Jack has done pretty well in the starting lineup, but Williams will find himself back in soon enough. For now, Jack's scoring punch should help the offense in the event Johnson and Lopez don't play well.

From the Vault

This was the Celtics' first appearance in the playoffs since 1995. Head back to 2002 and see if Paul Pierce, Antoine Walker and the rest of them could beat the Sixers.

More reading: CelticsBlog