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Nets wrap up road trip (and 2017) in Boston

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Miami Heat v Boston Celtics Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Another blowout... wait wait, wait that’s not the entire picture. Going into Friday night’s game against the Miami Heat, the Brooklyn Nets had lost three straight games and eight out of their last ten. However, they looked like a whole new team as they beat the Heat by 24 points.

The opponent this New Year’s Eve will be the Boston Celtics. It’s been a sensational year for Brad Stevens’ crew as they are near the top of the Eastern Conference standings and figure to be a tough out come playoff time. They’ve had some well deserved days off after pulling off a 26-point comeback against the Houston Rockets on Thursday night. After this, they get a few days off before hosting LeBron James (and maybe the returning Isaiah Thomas) on Wednesday. That should be fun.

Where to follow the game

YES Network on TV. WCBS 880 AM on radio. Tip off after 5:30.

Injuries

Nothing new for Brooklyn. Isaiah Whitehead remains on assignment with Long Island.

Jaylen Brown is hoping to play this evening as he’s been dealing with a balky knee the past few days. Semi Ojeleye is likely going to miss this game due to a back injury.

The game

Boston won the first meeting back in November.

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson will get one more chance to put on a show before the year ends. He keeps improving each day out and is a reliable presence on both sides of the ball. He’ll get a chance to match up with one of the best rookies from the past Draft. Jayson Tatum has been terrific and hasn’t hit the rookie wall yet. He’s been a reliable second scoring option for Boston and as he gets more experience, his game will even more impressive.

Caris Levert will face one of the best perimeter defenders in the league tonight. Marcus Smart plays incredibly physical defense and can guard up to four positions. For Levert, he can’t let himself get frustrated when Smart starts to body him up. He’s been on a great roll over the past week and his playmaking skills have really started to shine through. The Nets will have a great backcourt situation when D’Angelo Russell makes it back onto the court.

Player to watch: Kyrie Irving

He tried to tell us. A lot of us (myself included) thought Kyrie was bonkers for wanting to start over in Boston, but three months into his return as leading man, he’s been everything Brad Stevens could’ve wanted and more. Kyrie is shooting a career best 48.9 percent from the field and is taking the most three pointers a game in his career (while shooting 40 percent from deep). If the game is close deep into the fourth, Kyrie’s impact is even more pronounced. He’s currently fifth in the league in fourth quarter scoring. Also, he’s woke now and that’s been a ton of fun.

Spencer Dinwiddie will have his hands full. He’ll be one of the primary defenders on Irving and if he can bait him into taking difficult shots early in the clock, then it’ll be a win for him. Irving isn’t the best defender going, so Dinwiddie should look for his shot tonight. The one thing he has to remember is not to take rushed, hero ball type of shots. Keep the ball moving and get good looks for the other players.

From the Vault

It wouldn’t be New Years Eve without the great Dick Clark.

Happy New Year!!

More reading: Celticsblog