When the Celtics travelled to Brooklyn for the first game of the season’s series, the team fell, 102-97.
In what was an incredibly uncharacteristic twist, with the Celtics down by three, Paul Pierce missed two free throws with 34.5 seconds left to essentially seal Boston’s fate.
It did not help that the undersized Celtics surrendered 18 offensive rebounds.
However, Boston will have Rajon Rondo this time around, as Brooklyn now must travel to the Boston Garden.
Furthermore, the Celtics are riding a two game win streak that includes their best win of the season and an overtime victory in Orlando where the team had seventeen offensive rebounds and fifty-one total rebounds.
If Boston is to extend its winning streak to three, the team must limit the Nets second opportunities; this team has far too many weapons and will make the Celtics pay if given additional chances to score.
The second key to Boston winning this game is the bench. Jeff Green is this team’s biggest factor and he must continue to be aggressive and find ways to make an impact. While many fans were disappointed that Green followed up a stellar seventeen point performance with just one point and two rebounds, head coach Doc Rivers seemed pleased with the performance of the versatile forward, and felt he had a stronger hand in the victory than the stat sheet indicated. If the bench is scoring, Courtney Lee is combining with Rondo to make life difficult for Deron Williams, and Jared Sullinger is rebounding and contributing at the offensive end, than the Celtics should be in good shape.
The third key for Boston is avoiding offensive lapses. The Celtics tend to struggle finishing out quarters and closing games. Against a Nets team that is apart of the Eastern Conferences upper echelon, Boston cannot afford a dry spell.
Finally, the fourth key is getting off to a hot start. Brooklyn is coming off of an emotional victory over New York in the battle of the boroughs. If the Celtics let the Nets get off to a quick start, and allow for that momentum to transfer over into tonight’s match up, than this one might be over early. Boston must attack early and set the tone from the very beginning.