Wednesday, March 4, 2009
7:30 pm ET
IZOD Center (East Rutherford, NJ)
Coming off of a split two-game home stand, the Celtics will take the show back on the road tonight at the IZOD Center, where they'll be hosted by division rival New Jersey Nets. The C's are coming off of a tough Sunday afternoon loss to Detroit, but did, however, receive back-to-back "off" days prior to tonight's contest. Doc Rivers' club is one of the best teams in the league on two days of rest, where they've won 12 of 13 games in that situation this season.
New Jersey, on the other hand, will not be coming off of multiple days of rest. Just last night, they were seen stealing a big road win in Milwaukee, the East's current eight-seed. That victory brings New Jersey within 0.5 games of the Bucks, and ultimately the playoff picture.
A victory against the world champs may not be the only thing Nets fans (as quiet as they are, yes, they exist) are looking forward to tonight, however. Both Celtic newcomers happen to have ties to the New Jersey area. Recent frontcourt addition Mikki Moore spent his 2006-2007 breakout campaign with the Jason Kidd-led Nets, as he appeared in 79 games and held averages of 9.8 points and 5.1 rebounds per game. Moore's efficiency (60.9% FG) and constant energy earned heavy respect from the fan base before signing a three-year, $18 million contract with Sacramento in the summer of '07.
Stephon Marbury may not get as much positive attention from the crowd. He'll get a few, as the Brooklyn native created hope for many young kids in the New York/New Jersey area, but expect the booers and hecklers to overpower the supporters. If you have to ask for reasons why the crowd's reaction could be so negative, Marbury's drama-filled Knicks tenure speaks for itself.
Regardless, you've got to expect that Steph will be juiced up to take the floor in his home area for the first time since January 11, 2007.
G G F F C
PPG: Paul Pierce (20.1)
RPG: Kevin Garnett (8.8)
APG: Rajon Rondo (8.5)
SPG: Rajon Rondo (1.9)
BPG: Kendrick Perkins (1.8)
G G F F C
PPG: Devin Harris (22.2)
RPG: Brook Lopez (8.2)
APG: Devin Harris (6.8)
SPG: Devin Harris (1.7)
BPG: Brook Lopez (1.9)
Kevin Garnett (posterior muscle strain – out)
Tony Allen (recovering from thumb surgery – out)
Brian Scalabrine (concussions/strained neck – out)
Eduardo Najera (lower abdominal strain – out)
Keys to Victory
- Limit Turnovers
- Own the Glass
- Control the Paint