Tuesday, October 15, 2013
W2W4: C's vs. Nets (Preseason Game 5)
By Chris Forsberg
The Boston Celtics visit the Brooklyn Nets for an exhibition tilt on Tuesday night at the Barclays Center (7:30 p.m., CSN). Here’s what to watch for:
* PIERCE VS. OLD TEAM: Kevin Garnett will begrudgingly get a night off with the Nets closing out a back-to-back, but Paul Pierce, who sat out Monday’s game in Philadelphia, will play against the Celtics for the first time in his NBA career. It might only be preseason, but it’s still going to be surreal for Pierce to be going against green jerseys in anything other than a practice situation.
* WORK TO DO: Celtics coach Brad Stevens said it would be OK if those acquired from the Nets this summer-- or the returning Boston players that suited up with Pierce and Garnett -- had some extra emotions for the Brooklyn game. That said, the Celtics’ focus has to be on improving and building off Saturday’s first win of the preseason. As former Nets swingman Gerald Wallace said, “I don’t have any thoughts [on playing in Brooklyn], I’m more worried about us getting better -- helping more on defense, and building off our game against New York.”
* FRONTCOURT IN FOCUS: Stevens hinted the Celtics are moving closer to settling on lineups and early rotations. The backcourt combo of Avery Bradley and Jordan Crawford worked particularly well last game, while Jeff Green is cemented at the 3 in a traditional lineup. It seems the competition lies up front as Brandon Bass, Kris Humphries, Jared Sullinger, and Kelly Olynyk have been mixed and matched in the starting lineup in recent games. Stevens has said he wants Bass to anchor the defense, which could aid his cause for winning one spot, while Sullinger’s been one of Boston’s best performers and might simply need to show he’s capable of handling a starter’s workload while he gets into game shape after back surgery in February.
* WHAT ELSE?: Jeff Green is perpetually on the watch list as he endures a preseason funk. Green said Monday he just needs shots to start falling; we think he could benefit by simply being more aggressive towards the basket and maybe getting to the free throw line… Wallace, a 13th-year NBA veteran, is back on the floor after getting some planned rest on Saturday… MarShon Brooks, another of the players acquired from the Nets, has played played only 37 preseason minutes (logging one DNP -- Coach’s Decision), but is coming off his best preseason showing… Keith Bogans will miss the first matchup against his former squad after tests Monday confirmed he has a right thumb sprain that will sideline him indefinitely.