Tonight, the Nets will head up to Boston for a preseason matchup with the Celtics at TD Garden. The Celtics are 1-2 in the preseason while coming off a blowout loss to Philadelphia last night. The Nets are 2-0 after opening up Barclays Center with a victory over Washington last night.
For Boston, don’t expect too much from their stars tonight. In yesterday’s game, Kevin Garnett did not play at all and Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo played in somewhat limited minutes. This is a veteran team that is barely concerned with the regular season, let alone the preseason. They expect to do their damage in the postseason where they should be healthy and ready to compete with the best in the east.
Despite the fact that this is a preseason game, the Celtics are a division rival and the Nets can use this game to scout their opponents. They will be playing this team in primetime in one of the bigger games of the year on Christmas Day this season and that is a game the Nets need to be prepared for.
One player to watch for Boston is Celtics rookie Jared Sullinger, who has looked like an excellent pick so far after being selected with the 21st pick in last year’s draft. Sullinger was a superstar at Ohio State and dropped in the draft because of injury concerns and lack of height. But he has played very well in the preseason so far and could cause some matchup problems.
I do not expect the Nets to win this game because I don’t expect the starters to play many minutes. This will be the second of a back-to-back and the starters played a lot of minutes yesterday. Coach Avery Johnson said in an interview that winning last night’s opening game in Brooklyn mattered to him, but this game probably will not.
However, this should be a great opportunity for players who may have not gotten a lot of playing time yet in the preseason. One player I will be watching is Mirza Teletovic, who I expect to get a lot of minutes. In his first two games, Teletovic has shot the ball very poorly and has not looked like the player Nets fans were hoping for. This game will put very little pressure on Mirza and I think he will play better, especially because he may be the best scoring option on the court at times.
Another player I will have my eye on is another EuroNet, Tornike Shengelia, who is expected to make his NBA debut. The Nets have been impressed with him in the summer league and in training camp and I want to see what this 21-year-old can do on the court.
This game starts at 7:30 PM on NBA TV and will be followed by the premiere of “The Association”, which features the Brooklyn Nets.