Another day and another game for your Boston Celtics. Fresh off an 84-79 loss to the Toronto Raptors, the Celtics travel to New Jersey to take on the Nets for the second of three games in three days tour around the NBA.
The Celtics appeared to be in cruise control from the start. Leading by as many as 15 playing against a Raptor squad featuring a host of D-League players and minus the core of their team due to injury. And then the second half set in. The Celtics looks sluggish and could not seem to get anything going. The Raptors, who played with a purpose, let them have it.
A valiant effort to get the game within reach was admirable, but just not enough. Normally, this is where we would rant about the Celtics playing down to their competition, but not this year.
Like most teams, the Celtics are in survival mode and while each game is important, so is fielding a full squad for the next. Up next, those pesky New Jersey Nets.
“Right now we have a lot to play for, we are playing for playoff positioning and that has to be the mindset regardless of who steps on the court,” Pierce said. “So with the possibility of moving up to the three seed these are must-win games for us.
“It’s crazy because we have three games in a row. We should have come out with better urgency (in the second half).”
The Celtics and Nets have locked horns twice this season, both in Boston, with the Celtics winning handily each time. In 2011, the Celtics fell to the Nets, in New Jersey, snapping a 9-game slide for the Nets.
2011-12 HEAD TO HEAD STATISTICS
PPG: 98.0, RPG: 42.5, APG: 29.5, SPG: 9.00, BPG: 4.00, TO/G: 14.0, FG%: 50.6, FT%: 68.4, 3FG%: 31.3
PPG: 82.0, RPG: 36.5, APG: 17.0, SPG: 9.00, BPG: 1.50, TO/G: 16.5, FG%: 42.7, FT%: 71.1, 3FG%: 23.1
Celtics High Scorer: 28 – Paul Pierce (3/2/12)
Nets High Scorer: 28 – Brook Lopez (3/2/12)
Celtics at TD Garden: 2-0
Celtics at Prudential Center: 0-0
The connections with the Nets run deep:
Nets assistant coach Popeye Jones played for the Celtics from 1997-99.
Damion James and Avery Bradley were teammates at Texas.
Johan Petro and Ray Allen were teammates in Seattle from 2005-07.
MarShon Brooks and JaJuan Johnson were traded for each other at the 2011 NBA Draft.
Jordan Williams and Chris Wilcox both attended the University of Maryland.
Shelden Williams played for the Celtics during the 2009-10 season.
Keyon Dooling played for New Jersey from 2008-10.
Shawne Williams and Brandon Bass were teammates in Dallas during the 2008-09 season.
Gerald Green played for the Celtics from 2005-07.
A look at the all-time series:
All-Time Record vs. New Jersey: 111-56 (.668)
Largest Celtics Win: 37 points, 116-79 (10/31/79)
All-Time Home Record: 60-25 (.706)
Largest Nets Win: 36 points, 117-81 (12/25/02)
All-Time Road Record: 51-31 (.625)
Single Game Celtic High Scorer: Paul Pierce – 48 pts (12/01/01)
Current Streak: Two Celtics Wins
Single Game Net High Scorer: Mike Newlin – 52 pts (12/16/79)
Current Streak at Home: Four Celtics Wins
Longest Celtic Win Streak: 12 games (3/3/07 – 2/5/10)
Current Streak on Road: One Nets Win
Longest Nets Win Streak: 5 games (three times; most recent: 12/25/02 – 1/25/04)
Record against New Jersey since 2006-07: 18-4