SEEKING REVENGE: The Nets, who have won three in a row and eight of their last 10, beat the Celtics on Nov. 15 at Barclays Center. Boston didn’t have Rajon Rondo in that game. Then again, Brooklyn didn’t have Gerald Wallace. The Celtics (8-6) will certainly want to prove to the Nets (9-4) that they’re still the top team in the Atlantic Division -- even if the early-season standings say otherwise. The Nets have lost four straight road games to the Celtics.
STATS STRANGE, ISN’T IT? The Nets are second in the NBA in points allowed per game, but are tied for 22nd in the league in opponent’s field goal percentage. Odd, right? Well, the Nets are the slowest team in the league in terms of pace, using only 90.4 possessions per game. That also means less possessions for their opponents. A better metric to judge their defensive success is efficiency, and they rank 14th in that department -- still very solid. The Nets have allowed just 45 points in their last three fourth quarters combined.
BEST BACKCOURT? Not right now. Deron Williams and Joe Johnson continue to misfire from the field. Both All-Star guards are shooting under 40 percent for the season. Despite being banged up (sprained right shooting wrist among other ailments), at least D-Will is having an impact in other facets of the game (8.9 assists). Johnson needs to forget about his 3-for-12 disappearing act against the New York Knicks and play like he did the previous two games, when he was averaging 20 points on an efficient 58.1 percent shooting.
BROOK-LYN: In his last nine games, Brook Lopez is averaging 20.9 points, 6.1 rebounds, 3.1 blocks and 55.9 percent shooting. He scored 24 points on 11-for-14 shooting the last time the Nets and Celtics met. The Nets will want to establish him early again against Kevin Garnett.