Boston Celtics face Division Rival Brooklyn Nets

January 23, 2012; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo (9) sits on the bench during the first quarter against the Orlando Magic at TD Banknorth Garden. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-US PRESSWIRE

Tonight, the Boston Celtics will make their first visit to the Barclays Arena to face the Brooklyn Nets. They’ll be doing this without their star point guard and the NBA’s assist leader in Rajon Rondo. He won’t have a chance to extend his 10 assist streak tonight according to Celticsblog.com.

The Celtics will have Leandro Barbosa in the starting lineup tonight along with the usual crew of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Jared Sullinger, and Courtney Lee.

Barbosa scored 16 points and was a spark-plug off of the bench for Boston last night in a 98-93 win over the Utah Jazz. They’ll expect him to do this out of the starting line-up tonight and the bench will likely be short because of that.

Paul Pierce will need to step up and play that point forward role as he did the last time Rondo couldn’t play against the Atlanta Hawks in the Eastern Conference semi-finals last season. They’ll have a shot to win this game if he can do so.

What the Celtics will need to watch out for is Deron Williams. Though he started off relatively cold this season, he had a great game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday night dropping 26 points and 10 assists against Kyrie Irving and company. They won’t have Rondo so Boston may struggle to contain him.

Another player that could hinder Boston tonight is Brook Lopez. He’s off to a hot start this season averaging 17.5 points per game, 6.7 rebounds per game, and 2.3 blocks per game. Those are stellar numbers to say the least and if Boston doesn’t watch out for him on both ends of the floor they will surely lose.

This should be a high pace offensive game as both clubs are going to try to beat each other on the defensive end and get up and down the floor. Be sure to watch how Kevin Garnett plays against Brook Lopez. If he can stretch him out from the rim on the offensive end the Celtics have a great shot.

Topics: Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets, Preview

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