Boston Celtics: Rajon Rondo, Jason Terry, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Jason Collins
Brooklyn Nets: Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Keith Bogans, Gerald Wallace, Brook Lopez
Boston Celtics: 101.1 offensive rating (17th), 101.2 defensive rating (11th), 94.13 possessions per game (17th)
Brooklyn Nets: 103.8 offensive rating (10th), 103.5 defensive rating (21st), 90.14 possessions per game (30th)
Merry Christmas! The 14-12 Brooklyn Nets celebrate today by welcoming the 13-13 Boston Celtics to town for the first of five Christmas Day NBA games. The Nets haven’t played on Christmas since 2002, when they also played the Celtics — and blew them out.
The Celtics, who I’m sure are just thrilled to be on the road on Christmas, embark on a four-game road trip today. They’ve lost four of their last five games. The Nets were in relative freefall until their 95-92 victory against the Philadelphia 76ers Sunday, made possible by their old-new flex offense.
There’s bad blood here. The last time these two teams played in Boston, Kris Humphries was called for a touch foul on Kevin Garnett after a shot, irritating Rajon Rondo enough to tackle Humphries into the stands. Fines were bandied about — though Humphries got off scot-free, Kevin Garnett and Gerald Wallace both incurred fines for their role in the brawl, and Rondo was suspended two games.
The Nets went on to win the game in a decisive victory, riding Joe Johnson through the third quarter and getting key bench mob contributions from Andray Blatche (who hit all four of his fourth-quarter shots and dominated the glass) and Jerry Stackhouse (who hit 5-6 from three). We also got one of Reggie Evans’ best quotes ever, about Rondo attacking Humphries:
“It’s like a mosquito in your face. You’re eventually going to swat at the mosquito, right? If you let the mosquito in your face, you’re going to end up with bumps all over your face, so you have to swat the mosquito down.”
Incidentally, Humphries is inactive for this game with a mild abdominal strain.