W2W4: C's vs. Nets (Preseason Game 6)
* NATIONAL SHOWCASE FOR NETS: The Nets sat out their entire starting 5 during a 97-96 triumph over Boston on Tuesday at TD Garden. It might only be preseason, but a national broadcast against a division rival at its pristine new arena should have Brooklyn preening a bit. The Celtics might be more inclined to rest veterans, though an offday Friday would make Saturday's start of a back-to-back in Albany, N.Y. the more likely rest option. All of which could mean an entertaining exhibition if we get starter-heavy lineups. The Celtics heaped plenty of praise on Brooklyn the other night, including Kevin Garnett who said, "I like [the Nets' offseason]. Brooklyn is a very solid team, man. I was telling [Paul Pierce] that. Joe Johnson, all the pieces, they’re going to be a force to be reckoned with. Nothing like last year. They are going to be strong, I like their team."
* GARNETT'S TURN TO CRANK IT UP?: The Celtics have eased Garnett into the new season as the 36-year-old center has averaged only 14.8 minutes per game (sitting out a game earlier this preseason). The other night against Brooklyn, Pierce made a conscious effort to ramp up his aggressiveness and responded with a 29-point outing. With the exhibition season winding down (and rest likely as part of the back-to-back this weekend), tonight seems like a night where Garnett could play longer minutes.
* A GOOD TEST FOR SULLINGER: Celtics center Darko Milicic is not expected to dress after getting a cortisone shot in his ailing right wrist after Tuesday's game. That could mean another busy night for rookie Jared Sullinger, who will get a strong test if Brooklyn's frontline of Brook Lopez and Kris Humphries are on the floor. Expect to see a good amount of Jason Collins as well to add size to Boston's lineup.
* STARTING LINEUP ROULETTE : With the preseason winding down, Rivers is likely to start honing in on his rotation. Wednesday's addition of Leandro Barbosa might encourage Rivers to keep Jason Terry with the starting unit until Avery Bradley is healthy, as Barbosa adds another combo guard with ball-handling abilities to the second unit (easing the load on Courtney Lee and Terry when Rajon Rondo iss off the floor). Then there's the question of whether Rivers will keep power forward Brandon Bass with the starting group, or consider Sullinger at that spot in order to utilize Bass in a reserve role that offers more offensive firepower (and a strong defensive presence) to that second unit.
Play Podcast Two-time World Series champion Johnny Damon dishes on Jacoby Ellsbury's decision to sign with the Yankees, what moving from Boston to New York is like and more.
Play Podcast ESPN NFL analyst Herm Edwards weighs in on how to beat the Seahawks, Bill Belichick's comments about replay, the playoff picture, Mike Tomlin's apology and more.
Play Podcast Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski weighs in on the state of New England's offense, Antonio Smith's controversial comments, illegal hits, his health and more.
Play Podcast ESPN NFL analyst Trent Dilfer weighs in on Geno Smith's struggles, how much responsibility for the Jets' problems falls on Rex Ryan, the Patriots' defense, the Saints' challenges on the road and more.
Play Podcast ESPN NFL analyst Tim Hasselbeck gives his take on the Iron Bowl's ending, Antonio Smith's remarks about the Patriots' offense, Marc Trestman's decision to attempt a field goal on second down and more.