The opponent tonight will be the Boston Celtics. The C's have been through a lot this year, but through it all, they've excelled and will be the number two seed when the playoffs begin this weekend. Their first round opponent is to be determined. They lost last night in DC to the Wizards. The Celtics gain or lose nothing tonight. They’re set at No. 2. So Boston could rest a number of their players.
Where to follow the game
YES Network on TV. WCBS 880 AM on radio. Tip off after 7:30.
Caris Levert is probable, but Isaiah Whitehead, Joe Harris, and DeMarre Carroll will be out, their seasons done. And so will late scratch Spencer Dinwiddie, out with knee soreness.
Special shoutout to Joe Harris who made shooting better than 40 percent this season a goal and he reached it. Harris finished his season shooting 41.9 percent, 17th in the NBA. He also became one of the NBA’s best finishers off the drive and averaged 10.8, mostly off the bench.
Al Horford and Terry Rozier will sit out tonight’s game for Boston. Guerschon Yabusele is questionable with a sore left knee.
Kyrie Irving recently underwent knee surgery and will miss the playoffs. Marcus Smart is hoping to return sometime during the playoffs, but won't be here tonight. And Gordon Hayward will probably be on hand to wave. Like Jeremy Lin, he went down on Opening Night.
Boston won the first game in November, second one in December, and third one in January.
It's good to be Allen Crabbe right now. The swing man poured in a career high 41 points and knocked down eight three pointers along the way (and on his birthday, too!) Although he owns the team's single season record for three pointers made, it's been a bit of a rocky campaign for him. He's had his bright moments, but there were moments when you forgot he was on the court. Another year with the Nets will do him wonders.
When the playoffs start, the C's will count on Al Horford to carry them. The big man is their most experienced player and has been to the Conference Finals twice.
The C's probably won't get to the Finals, but this will still be a great experience for players like Jayson Tatum. He's had to take on a much bigger role than expected this season and has shown that he'll be crucial to what the C's hope to accomplish when Kyrie and Gordon Hayward get back next year. A good showing vs the Heat, Wizards or whoever he encounters starting this weekend will only build his confidence.
For the Nets, a win would mean taking a four-game winning streak into the off-season, a big deal psychologically. The Nets haven’t won four in a row since March-April of 2015, when they won seven straight. A Nets win and a Knicks loss to Cleveland would mean the Nets would have a better record than their cross-town rivals for the first time since 2014-15.
Player to watch: Terry Rozier
With Kyrie out, Rozier has had to step up. Since taking Irving's place in the lineup on March 14, Rozier has averaged around 14 points, six rebounds, and five assists a night on a 37/38/84 shooting split. Combine that with some solid defense and you've got yourself someone that will be very valuable to your team.
Looking ahead, the C's will have a tough decision to make next summer. He'll be a restricted free agent in 2019 and is in line for a nice-sized payday for the No. 17 pick two years ago. Trading him this summer might be the best option, as Alex Kungu of CelticsBlog argues here:
Alternatively, holding on to him might be the way to go.
D'Angelo Russell will get one more chance to put on a show before heading to the offseason. It's tough to rate DLo's performance this year as the injuries cost him a large part of the season and it always takes players time to regain their groove when coming back. Like with Crabbe earlier, another year in Kenny Atkinson's system (and healthy teammates) will do him wonders.
From the Vault
Since we're in Boston, let's big up a dude who could call both Boston and BK home.
More reading: Celticsblog
One more thing...
On behalf of myself and the entire NetsDaily staff, I want to thank each and every single person that visited our site, read our coverage, commented, etc this season. It's been a pleasure working for y'all and we hope you guys like what we did. See you next season!
Editor’s Note: Big sigh of relief that you’re coming back. You are our rock.
- Brooklyn Nets Game Notes - Brooklyn Nets
- Boston Celtics Game Notes - Boston Celtics
- Celtics face Nets in last tuneup before postseason - STATS/TSX
- Why is Atkinson’s job safe? Popovich praise provides a clue - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- D’Angelo Russell learning how to make his teammates better - Greg Logan - Newsday
- Celtics fall to Wizards; playoff foe still up in air - Steve Bulpett - Boston Herald
- The operative word with the Celtics is still optimism - Chad Finn - Boston Globe