NBA game of the week, Brooklyn Nets V Boston CelticsThe NBA has only been back for two weeks, but it is already starting to become clear who are the pretenders and who are the contenders. This match between Brooklyn and Boston is another one which could show who is a contender and who is a pretender.
GAME TIME & VIEWING OPTIONS:Time & Date: Friday, November 16, 2012 12:00pm AEDT Location: Barclays Centre, Brooklyn. Viewing Info: NBA League Pass (see our TV Guide for full info)
FORM HEADING IN:Boston: 3-3 Boston has had a slow start to the season. They headed into the season full of hope but quickly fell to 0-2 after losses to Miami and Milwaukee. With 2 games in row against Washington, it was a great chance to inject some much needed confidence into the team. They won both games but they weren’t convincing at all. Against Philadelphia they fell behind early and couldn’t recover, eventually losing 100-106. Their best game of the year came against Milwaukee in Milwaukee. It was tight throughout the whole second half, with Paul Pierce and Monta Ellis trading baskets. Boston eventually came out on top and won 96-92 Brooklyn: 3-2 Brooklyn's new franchise got off to a great start with a win over Toronto in their new billion dollar stadium. Their next two matches were bitterly disappointing. Brooklyn were dominating against Minnesota, leading by 15 at half time. Brooklyn then got outscored by Minnesota 32-10 in the last quarter. The end score 96-107. Against Miami they were totally outplayed. Brooklyn trailed all night and were never really in the match. They went down 73-103. Brooklyn has since bounced back, beating Orlando twice. Their first match up was in Orlando. Brooklyn won every quarter and dominated the second half. The end score was 107-68. It was a much closer match second time round. Brooklyn got off to a flying start outscoring Orlando 35-17 in the first quarter. Orlando wasn’t really able to get back in the match, but they didn’t allow Brooklyn to blow them out this time. The end score was 82-74.
MATCH UP OF THE NIGHT:The point guard battle between Rajon Rondo and Deron Williams will be the highlight of the match. Rondo has had a terrific start to the season. In six games he has got a double-double every match. Williams started his season with a bang; he was the player to register Brooklyn Nets’ first points. That will certainly go down as a big part of NBA history, whereas the rest of his season has been solid without being great. He is averaging 15 points and 8 assists. Rondo is great at bringing his team mates in to the match with his flashy passes. The main criticism of his game throughout last season was his jump shot. This season he has come out strong and you can tell he certainly worked hard to improve it over the off-season. Williams has had a great jump shot ever since he came into the league with Utah. Williams has the advantage in the shooting aspect, but Rondo has the advantage in rebounding. For his height, 185cm, Rondo is a terrific rebounder.He isn’t afraid to compete with guys well over 20cms taller than him. Whoever can control the tempo of their team better will have a large say in the outcome of this match.
WHERE TO IMPROVE:Boston’s biggest problem in all games this season has been their defence and rebounding. When Kevin Garnett is resting on the bench the team looks completely lost on the defensive end. Boston has given up so many second chance baskets by allowing the opposition to get offensive rebounds. Brooklyn needs to cut down on their turnovers if they are to compete with the upper echelon teams. Williams’ has been averaging 4.5 turnovers per match. Although he does handle the ball as much as anyone on the court this is still too many if he wants to be regarded as one of the top point guards. As the team gets used to their new players I would be expecting their turnover to come down.
BENCH BATTLE:Both Brooklyn and Boston have very solid bench players. Although the Boston bench looks great on paper, they have struggled so far with putting the new pieces together. They are clearly still trying to figure out what works best. The Celtics have former sixth man of the year Jason Terry, who can knock down three pointers from anywhere. Although he has had a pretty ordinary start to his Celtics tenure, I’m sure he will soon start to click with the offense Doc Rivers is trying to run. Brooklyn’s second year shooting guard MarShon Brooks is a great back up for Joe Johnson. In almost 20 minutes on the court he has been averaging just over 10 points and 2 rebounds. Jeff Green has had an intriguing season for Boston thus far. He had a promising pre-season where he looked confident and ready to break-out, yet he hasn’t been able to carry that form over to the regular season. Green sometimes looks like he has no confidence and shows no aggression. If Green can pick up his defensive game it will be great for Boston. Andray Blatche has been great for Brooklyn coming off the bench. In almost 19 minutes of playing time he has been averaging 7.5 points, 6 rebounds and 1 assist. He is the perfect back up while Brook Lopez is resting on the bench. Blatche will need to have a large presence against the likes of Kevin Garnett.
PREDICTED STARTING LINE UPS:Boston Celtics •Point guard: Rajon Rondo •Shooting guard: Courtney Lee •Small forward: Paul Pierce •Power forward: Brandon Bass •Centre: Kevin Garnett Brooklyn Nets •Point guard: Deron Williams •Shooting guard: Joe Johnson •Small forward: Keith Bogans* •Power forward: Kris Humphries •Centre: Brook Lopez *If Gerald Wallce is able to come back from an ankle injury he will start.
PREDICTION:Brooklyn will have the big advantage of their home court. That being said, I think Boston are starting to gel and understand each individual’s role on the team. If Keith Bogans isn't on his game, Paul Pierce could very easily have night out. The match up at the centre position between Brook Lopez and Kevin Garnett will be crucial. Brandon Bass will have to compete hard against the rebounding machine that is Kris Humphries. My Prediction: Celtics - 98 Nets - 90
Photo Credit: Jared Wickerham/Getty Images North America