Boston Celtics vs. New Jersey Nets Preview and Pick – Point Spread

Boston Celtics (6-1 SU, 4-3 ATS) vs. New Jersey Nets (0-6 SU, 1-4-1 ATS), 7:30 p.m. EST, Friday, November 7, 2009, The Izod Center, East Rutherford
by Ryno of Predictem.com

Point Spread: Celtics -12.5/Nets +12.5
Over/Under: 183

One team tries to rebound from its first loss of the season while the other team tries to get its first win, as the Boston Celtics face the New Jersey Nets.

The Celtics got off to a terrific start at 6-0 before finally losing to the Phoenix Suns on Friday night at home, 110-103. The Celtics shot better than the Suns, outrebounded them, forced more turnovers and had more assists. But the Suns won for one reason - they made 13-of-24 3-point attempts, while the Celtics were 4-for-18 from beyond the arc. The Celtics definitely outplayed the Suns and normally would have come out with a victory, but it’s difficult to predict a 6-for-7 3-point performance by Jason Richardson. All five Celtics starters scored in double figures, led by Kevin Garnett’s 26 points. He also led the team with eight rebounds. Rajon Rondo had one of his better games this season with 14 points and 11 assists. But Rondo wasn’t able to stop Steve Nash, who had 16 points and 12 assists, and Ray Allen wasn’t able to stop Jason Richardson, who had 34 points and 10 rebounds.

The Nets are 0-6 and it would be shocking if they got their first win against the Celtics, especially when the Celtics are coming off their first loss and trying to bounce back with a victory. The Nets nearly got their first win Friday night in Philadelphia, but the 76ers won the game, 97-94. Brook Lopez continued to be the most impressive member of the Nets with 22 points and 11 rebounds. A rejuvenated Trenton Hassell started and had 17 points and 12 rebounds, so that could mean more action for Hassell, who played 46 minutes against the Sixers.

The Nets backcourt of Rafer Alston and Courtney
Lee
, formerly the Magic backcourt, is not producing so far like
it did in Orlando last season. Alston, who averaged 12.1 points, 5.1 assists,
2.9 rebounds and shot 41.3 percent from the field, is now averaging 8.8
points, 4.8 assists, 1.7 rebounds and shooting 39.2 percent from the field.
Courtney Lee, who averaged 8.4 points per game last season, is scoring more
at 11.8 per game but he is shooting very poorly. Lee shot 45 percent from
the field last season and 40.4 from beyond the arc, but is now shooting
31.4 percent from the field and 13.3 percent from 3-point range.

Devin Harris played in the first two games for the Nets, but now he has a sore right groin and he has missed the past four games. Harris is not expected to play against the Celtics.

Chris Douglas-Roberts is second on the team behind Lopez in scoring with 15.6 points per game, but he did not play in Friday’s night game because of flu-like symptoms. It is unclear whether or not he will play against the Celtics.

Lopez can do a decent job against Garnett, but the Nets don’t have anyone to guard either Kendrick Perkins or Rasheed Wallace. Lopez can only guard one player at a time. E. Najera will have a tough time with either of them and the Nets don’t really have anyone else capable of matching up. Even without Harris and Douglas-Roberts, Alston and Lee can match up well with Rondo and Allen. And rookie Terrence Williams or Hassell can match up with Paul Pierce. But there isn’t a lot of scoring between all of those Nets players. Without Harris and Douglas-Roberts, Lopez is the main scoring option and he will be locked down by Garnett. Lee will have to step up big time for the Nets to keep this game close. The problem with the Nets without Harris and Douglas-Roberts is depth, so all of the key players will have to be prepared to play around 40 minutes.

The Celtics are 65-36 ATS since the 2003-04 season after a loss. The Celtics won all four meeting with the Nets last season, and two of them were by at least 20 points. The Celtics also swept the Nets in their four matchups in 2007-08. The last time the Nets beat the Celtics was a 92-78 win on February 9, 2007.

Ryno’s Pick: Coming off a tough loss to the Suns to end their undefeated streak, the Celtics will be looking to bounce back with a big win. With Harris out, the Nets don’t stand much of a chance to win the game. The Celtics blew out the Bobcats by 33 points last week. This game could be a similar result. Take the Celtics -12.5.