Pregame Open Thread: New Jersey Nets vs. Boston Celtics

Tonight against the Celtics the Nets will attempt to win their fifth game in a row, for the first time since the 2007-08 season. After two exciting victories overseas, the Nets came home last week and won two close games against the Warriors and Clippers. Tonight the team steps up in class quite a bit, as they face one of the best teams in the NBA. Deron Williams will be back with the team tonight and the Nets will need him to beat the Celtics in the last meeting between the two teams this season.

Here are some things to keep an eye on at the Prudential Center tonight:

Can the Nets Score Enough Points? During their 4-game winning streak, the Nets have scored more than 100 points in three of the four games and have been pretty solid on the offensive end. But tonight they play against the NBA’s best defense (in my opinion) and a team they’ve struggled against all season. In three previous games against Boston, the Nets are only averaging 79.3 points per game, all losses. Last night the Celtics held the Milwaukee Bucks to a franchise-low (and embarrassing) 56 points. Tonight consistent scoring and the absence of big draughts will be critical for the Nets.

Deron Back in the Fold. Deron Williams has been what we all expected since he got to the Nets, especially with getting others involved and giving his teammates easy looks at the basket. After missing the last two games for the birth of his child, he will be back in the lineup tonight. The wrist is going to be an issue throughout the rest of the season, but he seems committed to playing through the injury. Tonight the Nets will need every bit of Williams to break through against Boston and keep their winning streak intact.

The Brookie Monster. Brook Lopez’s game has certainly benefited from the appearance of D-Will, and the Nets center has scored at least 24 points in each of the Nets last four games. Tonight he goes up against a depleted Celtics front line, but one that still has Kevin Garnett to protect the rim. Consistency has been one of Brook’s biggest issues this season, and I will be keeping a close eye on his play against the C’s.

The Nets had only their second sellout of the season on Friday night against the Clips, and I’m looking for similar fan support tonight against one of the League’s best teams.