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Nets and Celtics begin a holiday home and home series, but without Kyrie Irving

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Boston Celtics v Golden State Warriors Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images

They’ve got the glow. After blowing a nine point lead with two minutes, it looked like the Brooklyn Nets were on their way to a backbreaking loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers. HOWEVER...

Yeah, it’s like that. The win was Brooklyn’s fourth straight.

The opponent tonight will be the Boston Celtics. After an offseason where two of their best players chose to play elsewhere, the expectation was that Boston would take a step back. So far at least, that hasn’t been the case at all. The C’s have been one of the best teams in the league thus far and are near the top of the Eastern Conference as we roll in to December. They beat the Sacramento Kings in a thriller on Monday night.

Where to follow the game

ESPN gets two exclusive games this year, and tonight is one of them. No YES Network. WFAN 101.9 FM on radio. Tip off after 7 PM.

The Nets also play the Celtics on Friday at home, at 12:00PM EST. You can get tickets to the game through this link here.


No Caris Levert and Wilson Chandler. DeAndre Jordan missed Monday's game with ankle soreness. No word on his availability for tonight. Kyrie Irving is out, which is a damn shame for the league’s broadcast partners and all those Celtics fans that were ready to boo the hell out of Irving. Maybe next time.

Gordon Hayward’s out with a broken hand. Daniel Theis missed Monday’s game with an illness. His availability for this one is unknown. Kemba Walker suffered a scary neck injury in Denver over the weekend and missed Monday's game. He's been upgraded to probable for this one. Thank God he's OK.

The game

We really are getting deprived of an All Star battle at point guard tonight. Injuries suck.

In the meantime, we’ll still be getting treated to a wonderful matchup at point guard. Marcus Smart has been one of the best perimeter defenders in the league since he was drafted in 2014 and has gradually boosted his offensive game to the point where he’s kinda useful on that end. Brad Stevens won’t need him for that, but it’s nice to have. More importantly for Smart, he’ll be tasked with slowing Spencer Dinwiddie down. Fresh off being named Eastern Conference Player of the Week, Dinwiddie managed to top himself with the game winner on Monday.

When Al Horford left to join the Philadelphia 76ers, it was safe to assume that Enes Kanter and the other Celtics bigs would be a drastic step down. However, Daniel Theis has been one of the more pleasant surprises in the NBA so far. Theis has been a fantastoc rebounder on both sides and has been a good defender as well. Assuming his illness doesn't keep him out again, he and Jarrett Allen will engage in a nice battle on the inside. Allen has raised his game and had the second 20-20 game of his career on Monday. Allen is one of the big reasons Brooklyn's future is exciting, and the better he plays, the greater the team's chances will be.

Player to watch: Jayson Tatum

Now that Irving is gone, all eyes are on the former lottery pick. Tatum is the team's top scoring option (even moreso with Hayward and Walker out) and he's been delivering so far. Tatum's percentages are down, but his shot attempts are up and he's taking more three pointers. If you think back to last season, Tatum spent pretty much the whole year getting yelled at by writers for taking too many midrange jumpers.

Taurean Prince will be assigned to Tatum tonight. Like everybody else wearing Brooklyn colors these days, Prince has stepped up to fill the void left by Irving's absence. His transition from Atlanta to Brooklyn has been solid and his job tonight will be to make life difficult for Tatum. If he can shut him down, it would make life even more difficult for Boston's offense.

From the Vault

Let’s celebrate Thanksgiving with our pal Garfield

More reading: Celticsblog