Kyrie Irving or No Kyrie Irving? (Plus Nets Injuries):
Obviously Kyrie Irving's status, being the best player on the team, has a huge impact on whether or not the Celtics win tonight. If Irving plays, mask and all, this shouldn't be a difficult game for the green team. Irving is averaging just above 20 points per game this season. We cannot expect Al Horford to drop 20 points every game without Irving, nor can we expect Jaylen Brown to keep this up. Let us all hope Irving is back tonight. Let us all hope for another win to extend the streak. UPDATE: Kyrie Irving is expected to play tonight (per source)
Jeremy Lin and D'Angelo Russell are/were the leading scorers for the Nets. However, Lin ruptured his knee and is out for the season and Russell is going to be out for "and extended period of time" with a leg injury. Without those two, the Nets' leading scoring responsibilities fall on Rondae Hollis-Jefferson... yeah not a great situation. This is a major key to this game, as the Celtics are put in a great spot. As long as the Celtics score continuously, the Nets won't be able to keep up or they will try too hard to keep up (see below for explanation).
The Nets are the top team in pace this NBA season, whereas the Celtics are ranked around 25th. The C's will need to try to control the pace and (like I said above) score continuously. Yes, the Nets are so highly ranked when it comes to pace, however if they try to continue to play like that without Russell, it'll most likely lead to bad shots and a lot of them. Without their leading scorer, trying too hard to keep up with that pace could ruin them. As Celtics fans, let's hope so.
A fan also recommended this key... great minds think alike Maddi.
TRAP GAME POTENTIAL:
When I posed my usual fan key entry on Twitter, this one flooded the inbox. But if you ain't first, you're last. And struzz what the first to reply in. The Celtics need to stay in the moment. If they are looking ahead to any part of Thursday's showdown with the Golden State Warriors, then the Nets could sneak into a victory tonight. Give it 48 minutes of play tonight, THEN think about who is next.