Nets-Celtics: New Jersey Needs to Put Together a Good Game Against Boston

Kevin RothContributor IJanuary 16, 2009

The New Jersey Nets have been struggling the last few games. They will not get any help on Saturday, as the Boston Celtics march into the Izod Center in good spirits after clobbering the Nets 118-86.

The Nets came out of the gates struggling on Thursday and it stayed that way throughout the game.

The Nets had trouble defending Celtic Big Man Kevin Garnett. Ryan Anderson started the game matched up with Garnett, and had trouble guarding him. This trouble was highlighted by a backdoor cut alleyoop that Anderson did not see at all.

Garnett scored 20 points and grabbed nine boards in only 24 minutes of action. If the Nets want to beat Boston on Saturday, they are going to have to play good defense on Garnett and try to get him into foul trouble, in which case he will have to play more conservatively.

Pierce is another component of the "Boston Three Party" that the Nets need to contain. He ran rampant in the third quarter on Thursday, scoring 18 of his 22 points in that quarter in which Boston really ran away with the game.

Lawrence Frank needs to find better match ups for both Garnett and Pierce to try to contain those two stars. 

The Nets are especially going to have to boost up their offensive production. Vince Carter must bounce back from a terrible shooting night Friday, shooting only four of 14.

Without Carter's offensive production, and the Nets lack of a very consistent third scorer, it is extremely difficult for the Nets to win.

Devin Harris will also have to step up his game. Harris needs to keep ball security as a top priority in the game against the Celtics, as he turned the ball over a few times against the Celtics, allowing them to score a few easy points.

Lopez needs to step up in Saturday's matinee game. His game Thursday was not very impressive. Boston was able to clog the middle so that it was very difficult for the Nets to get him the ball. Even when the Nets did get the ball inside to Lopez, the Celtics would collapse so fast that Lopez rarely got a clean shot off.

If the Nets want to keep themselves in the playoff race, they need to start performing and holding their leads late in the game.