Found April 10, 2013 on Celtics Spot:
The post season is right around the corner and the only thing standing between it and the Boston Celtics is a five game stretch. The first of five will be played tonight in Boston when the Brooklyn Nets roll into town. The Nets are coming in following a contest that saw Brook Lopez and Reggie Evans combine for a total of 35 rebounds. With rebounding being anything but Boston's strong suit, it will be interesting to see what the Celtics can do to limit Brooklyn's bigs on the boards. Keeping rebounding in mind, I think it will be absolutely blasphemous if Shavlik Randolph doesn't get at least 25 minutes of floor time in this one. Not only will he provide the Celtics with toughness and grit, but he'll also be able to spell Kevin Garnett. KG's health is vital at this point of the year and a little extra rest wouldn't kill him, but it's not just that. Randolph's want and desire to go after the ball and collect misses can become infectious, leading to increased effort on the glass from guys like Brandon Bass, Chris Wilcox, and Jeff Green. Now, I'd be lying if I told you that I knew Randolph would become somewhat of a factor on this team but the fact is, he quietly has. Since joining the Celtics the former Duke Blue Devil has amassed 56 rebounds in just 12 games. Do the math and that works out to be 4.7 boards per contest. 5 rebounds per doesn't really seem like much but it's actually really impressive considering he only logs 13.1 minutes a night.  Besides Randolph, Avery Bradley will be assigned to yet another high caliber point guard in Deron Williams. Bradley clearly has speed on his side but Williams is a lot stronger. With that said, this match-up slightly concerns me because even if AB can beat D-Will to the spot, Williams will have no problem absorbing contact and finishing at the rim. I'm sure we'll see our own Williams guarding the Nets' Williams at some point because Terrence can both match Deron's strength and exceed his athletic ability.  And of course we'll be seeing the classic Kevin Garnett/Andray Blatche match-up which has been great to watch over the years. The two big men have squared off 21 times throughout their careers and Garnett owns a 13-8 advantage. Kevin's numbers are better across the board in these head-to-heads, sans offensive rebounds per game.  Despite the continued excitement, the last time they met, on Christmas Day, left a lot to be desired. Garnett posted a line of 8 points, 10 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals, and 2 blocks. Blatche countered with 6 points, 7 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, and 2 blocks. Perhaps it's due to increased age that production has slowed but the simple fact that these guys hate each other is enough to entertain.  Bottom Line Expect emotions to show and tempers to flare. Boston's Paul Pierce told NBA.com, "You kind of feel some sort of chippiness between the two teams, to be honest with you, when we match up against Brooklyn." I'm sure guys like Kevin Garnett, Jeff Green, Reggie Evans, and Gerald Wallace would co-sign on that idea but at the same time, they all embrace it. When you think about Celtics-Nets it's hard to forget the Rajon Rondo/Kris Humphries scuffle that occurred earlier this year. Since then, Rondo has torn his ACL and Kris Humphries has fallen out of the rotation so we won't be seeing them go at it tonight. All the same, I wouldn't be surprised to see some more extracurricular activity this evening.  With Brooklyn (45-27) trying to clinch the 4th seed in the East, which comes along with home-court advantage, and Boston (40-37) vying to catch the Atlanta Hawks (lead BOS. by 1.5 games), this could be one for the ages.  Ultimately this contest will come down to who can initiate and maintain physical play throughout but Boston has somewhat of a leg up. Defensively they'll be able to play "4 on 5" considering how miserable Reggie Evans is on the offensive end. In 2012-13, Evans averages a measly 4.6 points per game and he also shoots just 52% from the free throw line. To make matters worse, he converts only 48% of his field goal attempts and seeing as he makes his living underneath the basket, 48% is a terrible clip. If the Celtics can find a way to either help on Brook Lopez, Joe Johnson, and Deron Williams or force the Nets to give the ball to Evans then they should be in good shape. Enjoy the game. Injury Report Boston - Kevin Garnett (Ankle) Will Play, Paul Pierce (Ankle) Will Play, Terrence Williams (Finger) Will Play Brooklyn - None Follow @maclean_tim !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+'://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js';fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document, 'script', 'twitter-wjs');
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