Celtics - Nets preview: Can C's stop Brooklyn?

Celtics - Nets preview: Can C's stop Brooklyn?
March 7, 2014, 12:00 pm
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BOSTON — The Boston Celtics have resigned themselves to the fact there's not going to be a postseason for them this year.

But that doesn't mean they're going to just show up and lay down for teams that are playing for higher stakes, either.

"That's for y'all to think about and analyze and talk about," Boston's Brandon Bass told CSNNE.com. "All we care about is improving. We don't care about spoiling things for anybody. The way we look at it, when we lose they're spoiling things for us. We just care about getting better."

It is an approach that has helped soften the blow of what many expected would be a season that would fall short of the playoffs for the first time since 2007.

"You just have to take that approach of using every day as a day to get better, and not really looking at where we are as far as the record," said Bass who added, "This is what it is. What our record is, is what our record is."

Here are some other keys to tonight's game:

WHAT TO LOOK FOR: It'll be important for the Celtics to keep this game close, something few teams have been able to do lately against Brooklyn.  During the Nets' four-game winning streak, they have outscored opponents by 14.3 points per game.

MATCHUP TO WATCH: Rajon Rondo vs. Deron Williams

Rondo will once again face an all-star caliber playmaker in Williams, whose improved play of late has been one of the keys to Brooklyn's resurgence. While Rondo's minutes and statistics are both on the rise, he's showing more and more of the explosiveness at getting to the rim. However, being able to finish such plays remains a work in progress.

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Kelly Olynyk is coming off a 19-point performance against Golden State, although most of his scoring came after the Warriors had a firm grip on the game. It'll be interesting to see if he can build off the performance.

STAT TO TRACK: Taking better care of the ball will be at a premium tonight for Boston. Their 22 turnovers against the Warriors led to 24 points which was a major factor in the game's outcome. They face a Brooklyn team that's getting a lot of mileage out of opponent's miscues. During the Net's four-game winning streak, they have forced 22.8 turnovers per game which has led to 25.8 points - both tops in the NBA during that span.