Watch It! - Celtics at Nets

Here are five things to watch out for when the Boston Celtics and Brooklyn Nets meet at 7:30 p.m. tonight at the Barclays Center.

Keep Em Under the Century Mark

What’s the key to downing the Brooklyn Nets? Judging by their seasonal stats, it’s keeping them under the century mark on the scoreboard.

Brooklyn is 10-3 on the season when scoring 100 or more points. They’re undefeated when breaking that mark at the Barclays Center. What’s the team’s record when scoring fewer than 100 points? A measly 6-15.

Clearly, there’s something about that number that matters to the Nets. If they don’t reach it tonight, the numbers say Boston will have a very strong chance at grabbing a win.

Play with Effort

The Celtics are coming off of a loss to the Charlotte Hornets that at one point featured a 22-point deficit. Prior to Tuesday’s practice, Boston’s players discussed the reasons for their underwhelming performance.

“You can’t give up the amount of offensive rebounds and loose balls that we give up,” said Jameer Nelson. “You can’t be lackadaisical with the ball.”

Jeff Green later added, “Just have to play harder. It’s as simple as that. Teams are outplaying us.”

The team, including its coach, believes that effort is the issue here. We’ll find out tonight if they can turn things around in that category.

Nets Getting it Done in the Clutch

Don’t look now, but the Brooklyn Nets are suddenly a team to be reckoned with. The Nets have won six of their last nine games, and their most recent loss came in overtime at the hands of the red-hot Dallas Mavericks.

The greatest reason for Brooklyn’s recent turnaround is its ability to close out games. Seven of its last 12 games have been decided by seven points or less, and the Nets are 5-2 in those games. Statistically speaking, Brooklyn hasn’t been particularly great at either end of the court during this stretch, but it’s finding a way to win games.

Boston would be smart to avoid a close contest tonight. The Celtics want to win, and they want to win big.

Gotta Make Shots

The Celtics are sliding, and the main reason why is their shooting. To put it simply, the C’s just haven’t been able to make shots with any form of regularity over their past eight games.

Boston enters tonight’s contest having made just 43.2 percent of its shots over the past eight games. During that time frame, the only areas of the entire court from which the C’s are shooting above the league average are the left corner (11-of-16) and around the free-throw line (48.3 percent). Every other location of the floor has featured an average or below average percentage during the last eight games.

It’s nearly impossible to win NBA games when your team does not operate an efficient, or at least semi-efficient, offense. The C’s will almost certainly need to shoot it at 45.0 percent or better to win this game.

Production from the Starters

Monday night’s game against Charlotte was one to forget for Boston, and for its starters, in particular. Only one Celtics starter – Jared Sullinger, who tallied 22 points, eight rebounds and four blocks – played well.

The following information might surprise you regarding the other four starters, so prepare yourself. Outside of Sullinger, the rest of the starting group combined to total just 18 points, eight rebounds and seven assists. Those are numbers that Evan Turner, Avery Bradley, Jeff Green and Tyler Zeller are capable of putting up on their own, let alone as a group.

Boston’s bench is talented, no doubt, but this team needs the starters to perform in order to win. They rarely perform poorly as a unit, so the odds are in their favor that they’ll bounce back tonight.

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