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Nets continue preseason vs Celtics

NBA: Preseason-Brooklyn Nets at Miami Heat Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

We’re halfway home. The Nets lost to the Heat on Tuesday and are 1-3 on the preseason. There have been some encouraging aspects to Brooklyn’s preseason

The opponent this evening will be the Boston Celtics. The C’s have been off since the eighth when they beat the Hornets as part of a back-to-back set. We’re going to be seeing the Celtics a bunch over the next two weeks. After this game, the teams play again on Monday in Boston. And on Opening Night (the 26th), the two teams open the regular season against one another.

Where to follow the game

YES Network has got you covered. Tip off is after 7:30. YES and Comcast have yet to resolve their dispute so if you have Comcast as your provider, you’re still out of luck.

Injuries

Brook Lopez was given Tuesday off, but he’s fine and should be out there tonight.

Al Horford and Isaiah Thomas took the game off against the Hornets, but there’s nothing wrong with them and they’ll be good to go. Kelly Olynyk has been recovering from offseason shoulder surgery and it’s unlikely he plays tonight. Terry Rozier got elbowed in the face against the Hornets, but he should play tonight.

The game

We knew coming into camp the defense was going to be an issue, and so far, it’s been an issue. They’ve allowed 100+ points and 50+ percent shooting in back-to-back games. Granted they’ve given key players days off here and there, but there are things they can work on. The next two games should be a nice little test for Brooklyn. The Celtics were right around league average offensively last season, but with Horford in town, Boston should improve immensely.

The point guard matchup tonight should be a really fun one. Jeremy Lin has looked great as a Net and figures to be matched up with Thomas if he plays. For the Nets to succeed this year, they’re going to need Lin to play consistently good to great defense every night. The real challenge will begin in two weeks but tonight will be a good tuneup against one of the better point guards in the league.

The Nets have been throwing up a bunch of three pointers, and so far, the strategy has been paying off. They’re shooting a respectable 37 percent from deep and with Justin Hamilton on board and Lopez expanding his range, this should continue throughout the regular season.

Player to watch: Anthony Bennett

Preseason is the perfect opportunity for fringe players to show out and make great cases for why they should be on the main roster when camp ends. We know the story of Bennett’s disastrous start to his career by now, but he’s been working to turn things around. A few days ago, Bennett shared his approach to the games so far:

“I’m just trying to grab every rebound and just trying to slow the pace down a little bit and see what the defense gives me.”

Bennett has been looking to incorporate the three pointer into his arsenal, and so far he’s shooting 30 percent from deep on three attempts a night, but was 3-of-5 against Miami.

So far at least, he’s managed to outplay his main competition for the third power forward spot, Chris McCullough. CMC has had a rough preseason, but with three games to go, he still has time to make a good impression on Nets management and earn a roster spot when camp breaks next week.