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W2W4: C's vs. Nets (Preseason Game 6)

10/18/2012

Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

Jared Sullinger and the Celtics get another crack at the Nets Thursday in Brooklyn.The Boston Celtics will be looking for preseason revenge when they visit the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday night at the Barclays Center (8 p.m., TNT). Here's a handful of things we'll be watching for during the game:

* 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.