Pregame Open Thread: New Jersey Nets @ Boston Celtics

The Nets (17-39) travel to Beantown tonight to take on the defending Eastern Conference champion Boston Celtics (39-14).  No Damion James … yet. He’s going to the D-League to get some playing time during the All-Star break.

Here are a few keys to the game:

Catch the Celtics Napping: Because there’s no other way the Nets are walking out with a victory tonight, but stranger things have happened. Like the Nets beating the Celtics in Boston last year around this time.  It’s the last game before the All-Star break – maybe the Nets catch Boston’s veteran core looking ahead and steal a win.

Watch the Rookie on Garnett: Kevin Garnett – great player. Hall of Famer. Defensive stalwart. Bit of a jerk. Sure, fans of KG’s talk of his intensity, but the guy can just be a flat-out bully sometimes and with mild mannered Derrick Favors starting the game and coming off a flat performance against the Spurs, the rookie needs to hold his ground and find a way to get some quality minutes tonight, because he could be a heckuva learning experience if he manages to stay out of foul trouble and stay on the floor.

Take Advantage of the Middle: Shaquille O’Neal is most likely sitting tonight and though he’s not the defensive player he once was, this is still an opportunity for the Nets to try and get some points in the paint by feeding the ball to their man in the middle Brook Lopez. The Celtics are one of the best defensive teams on the planet, so you have to take every opening you get against them, no matter how small.