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Preview: Brooklyn Nets vs Boston Celtics, 16/11/2012

The New Jersey, I mean Brooklyn Nets, will take on the Boston Celtics tomorrow morning at 6:30 AM on Sony SIX in what could have been a playoff preview.

Not quite, as Rajon Rondo may not suit up for this one. He injured his right ankle in their match vs the Utah Jazz. “He’s not going to play all 82, I doubt,” Rivers said. “It’d be nice. You know, how I think, guys, the next guy, just somebody has to step up and we have to figure it out.” But some consolation for the Celtics is that Rondo’s replacement is quite adequate. Leandro Barbosa scored 16 in the match vs Utah, and is adept at running and gunning. He’s one of the fastest players in the league. The Celtics have just recently beat the Nets in the preseason, 115-85.

The Nets have their own star out with an ankle injury. Gerald Wallace will likely miss his sixth consecutive game with a sprained left ankle. In Rondo’s absence the Celtics went 8-5. Both teams come in looking for their 4th consecutive victory tomorrow.

The much vaunted backcourt of the Nets finally seems to be clicking, as Johnson and Williams dropped 26 and 25 points in the win against Cleveland, first time either player scored more than 20 in this season. The historical record doesn’t favour the Nets. The Nets have lost all three of their matches vs the Celtics last season, by an average of 14.7 points. Looking back further in history, the Nets have only won twice vs the Celtics in their last 20 meetings.

The Nets have been led this season by Brook Lopez who is averaging 17.5 points and 6.7 rebounds per game, with 2.3 blocks. They have a good streak going as they have led by 20 points in each of their last three contests.

A little tinge of a revenge game here. Said Joe Johnson: “They came in with a different agenda in our pre-season game. I think we’ll have a little bit of a different agenda tomorrow. We’re a better team (then we were then) and hopefully it will show on the floor. We’ll figure out if he’s doing good enough to play in a game, and right now he’s a 50-50 shot. That’s it.

So is this a legitimate rivalry yet? “For us, until we become a perennial playoff team that has had knock down-drag out playoff fights with teams, then I think it’s gonna become more and more of a rivalry. But again, this will be a good way to start a good regular-season ‘rivalry’ with a team that knows what they’re doing. They have a lot of confidence and they have a swagger. They have a nastiness and a swagger about them that I actually like — and all the good teams that I’ve been associated with have it. And I’m trying to get us to get one on a consistent basis: home or road.”- Joe Johnson said.

Yeah, it’s a budding rivalry. Not an established one yet. Here are the lineups for both teams:

Celtics
PG: Rajon Rondo (questionable)
SG:  Courtney Lee
SF:  Paul Pierce
PF:  Jared Sullinger
C:   Kevin Garnett

Prominent Celtics Reserves
Brandon Bass
Jeff Green
Jason Terry
Fab Melo
Darko Milicic
Jamar Smith

Nets
PG: Deron Williams
SG:  Joe Johnson
SF:  Gerald Wallace (questionable)
PF:  Kris Humphries
C:   Brook Lopez

Prominent Nets Reserves
Keith Bogans
Andre Blatche
Josh Childress
Reggie Evans
MarShon Brooks

The Nets are younger, more athletic and riding a comfortable streak. Look for them to sneak an upset over the Celtics.

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