Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house, not a creature was stirring.. except Doc Rivers drawing up plays for the Boston Celtics' game against the Brooklyn Nets on Christmas Day.
Boston and Brooklyn will meet for the third time this season and the second time at the Barclays Center, with the contest tipping off at 12:00 p.m. ET (ESPN/WEEI). The game is the first of five featured NBA tilts on Christmas Day.
Thus far, the Nets have had the upper hand in their head-to-heads with the green. Brooklyn captured the first two victories, 102-97 on Nov. 15 and 95-83 on Nov. 28. In the first contest, Deron Williams carried the Nets with 24 points and eight assists while Brook Lopez had 24 points and four blocks in the five-point victory. Boston, playing without star point guard Rajon Rondo who was out with an injury, was led by Paul Pierce (22 points, seven rebounds, four assists).
In the next meeting, fireworks would fly after Kris Humphries delivered a hard foul to Kevin Garnett, causing Rondo to spark a brawl with Humphries. Once the dust settled, three players were ejected -- Rondo, Humphries and Gerald Wallace. The ejection brought Rondo's 36-game double digit assist streak to an end, as he finished with six points and three assists. Two players scored 16 for Boston (Kevin Garnett and Brandon Bass) while Pierce had 14 points and Jason Terry added 13 points as the Celtics shot 42.7 percent and turned the ball over 17 times. Joe Johnson led the Nets with 18 points and Lopez had nine points and 10 boards.
Lopez leads the Nets in scoring this season (17.5 PPG) as well as rebounding (8.2 RPG) while Williams is averaging 16.8 points and a team-high 8.1 assists. Johnson (17.2 PPG), Andray Blatche (11.5 PPG) and Wallace (11.1 PPG) are the only other Nets players to average double figures in scoring. As a team, Brooklyn is shooting 44.1 percent.
Paul Pierce, who is coming off a week in which he scored 75 points -- including a season-high 40 against the Cleveland Cavaliers, leads the team in scoring with 21.0 points per game. Rondo leads the Celts in assists (12.2 APG) and steals (2.0 SPG) while Garnett is averaging team highs in rebounding (7.0 RPG) and blocks (0.7 BPG).
December has not been a strong month for Boston, which has posted a 4-6 record since Dec. 1 and has dropped four out of its last five. Brooklyn hasn't fared any better this month, going 3-8 entering Tuesday's showdown.
Boston and Brooklyn will meet once more at the end of the season on April 10.
For more Boston Celtics coverage, check out our team page, Celtics Blog.