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Colliding Trends: Watch Out New Jersey

Tonight, the New Jersey Nets have a rare chance to make a statement against their division nemesis, the best team in the NBA, the Boston Celtics.

I bet those Nets are fired up, right?

The Newark Star-Ledger's Dave D'Alessandro checked in with the team:

Once in a while, you can tell whether these guys are juiced to play a game.

This isn't one of those times.

Q. You haven't personally had a real shot at these guys yet.

Vince: (shrug).

Q. You got clobbered by 23 once against Boston, and were down 23 the other time. Your guys could say that your absence was a factor.

Vince: (shrug).

And so on.

Later he quotes Richard Jefferson saying "I don't think you really get quality games until the end of the season."

D'Alessandro sums up the mood: "In other words, wake us in April."

Meanwhile, I just got an email from Hoopsworld's Tommy Beer. Here's what he wrote:

As we know, the Celtics have lost just four games this season. (Incidentally, they are the only Boston area team to lose since the Sox dropped Game 4 of the ALCS on October 15th. Since then the Patriots, Red Sox, and Celtics are a combined 46-4. One of the cooler stats in sports right now.)

Okay, back to my original point. The C's have lost four games thus far, and they have avenged each loss with a brutal retaliation against who ever happened to cross their path.

  • On 11/18, the Orlando Magic beat Boston 104-102. In their next game (11/21), the Celts trounced the Warriors 105-82.

  • On 11/27, Boston lost to the Cavs in overtime (109-104). Their next game was the "Boston Massacre in which the spanked the Knicks 104-59

  • On 12/19, the Pistons beat the C's by two (87-85) in Beantown. Two days later the Celts beat up on the Bulls, 107-82.

So, I assume by now you see the pattern developing.

Namely, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and the rest of Gang Green don't like losing. And when they do happen to drop a game, they seem to take it out on their next opponent. Per the results above, the Celtics' average margin of victory in games immediately following a loss is a mind-bogglingly high 31 points!

Moral of the story, if you are an opponent - you won't like the Celtics when they are angry. It could get ugly in Jersey on Friday night.