MAKING THEMSELVES AT HOME: The surging Nets have climbed to the fifth spot in the Eastern Conference and their play at home has aided that cause. Brooklyn has won 11 straight at Barclays, which bodes particularly well considering the Celtics haven't won on the road since before the All-Star break (Feb. 10 in Milwaukee). The Nets are a mere 2 ½ games back of Toronto in the Atlantic Division, even as old friend Kevin Garnett has missed 10 straight games due to back spasms (he'll sit again on Friday, though he said Thursday he'll be back soon).
BACK(COURT) TO THE FUTURE: The Celtics snapped a five-game losing streak Wednesday as the Rajon Rondo/Avery Bradley backcourt pairing propelled the team past the LeBron James-less Miami Heat. Boston hasn't gotten much of a look at their preferred backcourt in recent seasons, but Rondo and Bradley will be in focus Friday to see if they can build off their 31 minutes together on Wednesday. Bradley missed the last two meetings with Brooklyn while recovering from an ankle injury.
LOOSE BALLS: This is the fourth and final meeting of the season for the two teams. The Nets own a 2-1 series advantage, but Boston claimed the most recent meeting with a 91-84 triumph at TD Garden earlier this month. ... As STATS LLC notes, the Celtics are tied for the league's fewest road wins since Jan. 10 with a 3-18 record. ... The Celtics have a four-day break looming after Friday's game.