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Nets host the Celtics the night before Thanksgiving

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Chicago Bulls v Boston Celtics Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Things are starting to pile up. The Brooklyn Nets returned home after a 1-4 road trip (including three straight losses to end it) to face a Blazers team that had lost three straight games. The Blazers were able to end their losing streak with a 20 point victory on Sunday afternoon to push the Nets’ losing streak to four.

Making the Thanksgiving Eve trip into Barclays will be the Boston Celtics. The C’s were expected to be near the top of the Eastern Conference, but injuries have scuttled those plans. They won their last game on Monday against the Wolves, so maybe they’re about to go on a nice run.

Where to follow the game

YES Network on TV. WCBS 880 AM on radio. Tip off after 7:30.

Injuries

Jeremy Lin is still out for Brooklyn, as is Caris LeVert.

Jae Crowder returned to action a few days ago, but his ankle was bothering him a bit on Monday and his availability is unknown.

The game

The C’s won the first game on Opening Night.

Chris McCullough will have a busy day on Wednesday. In the afternoon, he’ll play for the Long Island Nets against Canton. And in the evening, he’ll be on the bench for the big club. Basketball never stops.

Both of these teams are in the bottom third of the league in rebounding, so whoever controls the glass has a great chance of securing the victory. Unfortunately for Brooklyn, they’re also fourth in the league in turnovers, so they’re going to be in trouble if they’re not careful.

Going into the season, we thought the Nets defense was going to be an issue. One month in, everything has gone as expected. During this four game losing streak, Brooklyn has allowed close to 121 points per 100 possessions on 58.8 effective field goal percentage shooting. Even with the increase in pace and flurry of three point attempts, the Nets aren’t good enough to go into shootouts every night.

Al Horford missed nine games thanks to a concussion but made his return on Saturday night against Detroit. The Celtics defense has struggled without Big Al. When Horford is on the court, Boston is allowing 97.5 points per 100 possessions. When he's not, they allow 107 points per 100. Horford provides a lot of value on defense for Boston and This presents a unique opportunity for Brook Lopez. Brook tends to start games off really well, but gradually fades as it progresses. The Nets should look to get Lopez around 20 field goal attempts in this game. Keeping Lopez involved all throughout the game has to be job one for the Nets if they want to break their losing streak tonight.

The duo of Avery Bradley and Marcus Smart will look to make things difficult for Bojan Bogdanovic. Bojan’s getting more three point attempts in this new offense, but he’s only made 33 percent of them. Not to worry though as he’s getting to the rim/free throw line more and turning it over less. Bradley and Smart are two terrific defenders (and in the case of Bradley, a terrific rebounder as well) and if they can limit his effectiveness, it’ll be up to Joe Harris coming off the bench to pick up the scoring load.

Player to watch: Isaiah Thomas

From the moment he joined the Celtics in 2015, Thomas has been their best, most dynamic scorer. This year, he’s eighth in the league in scoring, averaging a little over 26 points a night. Curiously, he’s done this while shooting a career low 31.5 percent from three point range. He’s managed to work around that by leading the league in drives to the basket and he’s made 50 percent of his deep twos. Thomas is a tough player to guard and it’s a safe bet to assume he’ll cross the 20 point threshold tonight.

Without Jeremy Lin, the Nets have had to rely on two rookies, a shooting guard moonlighting as a point, and Randy Foye at the PG position. It’s gone as well as you expected, but maybe this experience can serve them well down the line.

From the Vault

The Nets have always looked to lend a helping hand during Thanksgiving. It’s great to see.

More reading: CelticsBlog