Derrel “Jazz” Johnson, SNYNets.com
NEW YORK —After defeating the Cleveland Cavaliers their last time out, the Brooklyn Nets are riding a three game win streak and will look to make it four in a row when they tip off against the Boston Celtics at 8:00pm.
Here is your pregame primer.
Gerald Wallace Out, MarShon Brooks Available
As the Brooklyn Nets prepare to host the Boston Celtics at 8:00pm, they will be without Gerald Wallace again. Wallace, who has been out since the Nets season opener against the Raptors on Nov. 3, continues to be listed day-to-day.
“Having Gerald out, obviously, it puts us in a bind,” coach Johnson said. “But no excuses. We’ve talked about our team being deeper than it’s ever been so it gives guys a chance to step up.”
Second-year swing man MarShon Brooks, on the other hand, is available and may play tonight. In his pregame press conference, coach Johnson would not commit to giving Brooks minutes, though. Brooks has missed the last three games with a sprained left ankle.
“If I need to go to MarShon tonight, we’ll go to him,” Johnson said. “But if I need to go to him the next night, we’ll go to him then.”
A Measuring Stick
If the Nets defeat the Celtics tonight, it would be their first four-game winning streak since a five-game streak from March 4, 2011 to March 14, 2011. More importantly, it would be a rare win over the division powerhouse. Prior to tip-off, Johnson spoke glowingly about the Celtics and their recent winning ways.
“Boston has been successful for a really long time and Doc [Rivers] has been really successful with this team for a really long time,” Johnson said.
“Sure, we’ve had some recent wins but obviously when you play a team like Miami or Boston… Those teams have been in the playoffs… Teams need breakthrough moments during the course of the season.”
Tonight, coach Johnson hopes his team has one of those breakthroughs. After shootaround, I spoke with Deron Williams and he said almost the same thing. “Tonight is a big game for us,” he said “The last couple have been (opponents) you’d call non-playoff teams, or what people would think are non-playoff teams, so tonight is a big test for us.”
Rajon Rondo OUT
There has been a lot of speculation as to whether or not Rajon Rondo would play after rolling his ankle in the Celtics matchup last name against the Utah Jazz. As of 6:50pm, there was still no official word on his status for tonight, but at about 7:10pm, Doc Rivers announced that Rondo would NOT play.
The Nets caught a break.
Time for Focus
Prior to tip-off, coach Johnson also mentioned that his team has been able to focus on becoming better since there is no question as to who will and won’t be around. That’s a first for Johnson in his tenure as Nets coach.
“Since I’ve been here, whether it was during free agency, the start of the season, always to the trading deadline, you’re always trading for somebody,” he said. “We don’t have any of those rumors going about our team right now… It does feel stable and hopefully, guys feel comfortable enough where they can just play basketball.”
The Nets will look to make it four wins a row tonight, but it won’t be easy.