With #Celtics in Town, #Nets Have a Chance to Make a Statement

Josh Newman, SNYNets.com

Photo courtesy: Associated Press

NEW YORK — All of the praise that Kevin Garnett heaped on the Brooklyn Nets during the preseason was followed by the Celtics drubbing the Nets, 115-85. That was back on Oct. 18 in Barclays Center. At the time, Nets head coach Avery Johnson called it a ‘straight setup’ and said that the Celtics had ‘an agenda.’

None of this has been forgotten by the Nets and the Celtics—winners of five straight Atlantic Division titles—are Brooklyn for its first regular season game at Barclays. It will be a nationally-televised matchup on TNT, so now would seem like a good time for the Nets to make a statement of their own.

“It’s gonna be fun,” Brook Lopez said Monday evening after Monday’s 114-101 home win over the Cleveland Cavaliers. “It’s definitely gonna be  a challenge, I look forward to these games and our team is looking forward to seeing how we stack up against them.”

The Celtics may not be the consensus top team in the Eastern Conference as they were a few years ago, but they are still a threat that cannot be taken likely. Despite a hot start by the New York Knicks, few would argue that the Atlantic Division still goes through Boston.

Ray Allen is gone to the Miami Heat, but Celtics General Manager Danny Ainge added Jason Terry and Courtney Lee, while also getting back a healthy Jeff Green, who joins Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to give the Celtics a nice three-man rotation at the forward spots.

Celtics All-Star point guard Rajon Rondo twisted his ankle during the third quarter of the Celtics 98-93 win over the Utah Jazz on Wednesday night. Rondo’s 12.6 assists per game leads the NBA, so if he’s unable to go, it may be beneficial to the Nets. Rondo has registered at least 10 assists in 32 consecutive games, which is the third longest streak in history. Only Magic Johnson (46) and John Stockton (37) have had longer streaks.

If Rondo is not 100 percent, it’ll be interesting to see if he opts to play, knowing that the streak would be on the line. He will be re-evaluated at Barclays Center before his status is updated, but the Celtics aren’t holding a shoot around today, so we’ll know just before tip-off.

As for the matchup against the Celtics, Joe Johnson is looking forward to it. “It’ll be fun'” he said. “Nationally-televised game, they got us good in the preseason, so I’m sure we’ll come out in the regular season and try and hit first and be the better team.”

Josh Newman is SNYNets.com’s Field Reporter. Follow him on Twitter for up to the minute news and banter on all things related to the Brooklyn Nets and the NBA.