Boston Celtics at Brooklyn Nets
When: 6:00 PM ET, Saturday, March 30, 2019
Where: Barclays Center, Brooklyn, New York
Preview for Digital Sports Desk by Gracenote
BROOKLYN – While the Boston Celtics are making strides toward clinching homecourt advantage in the Eastern Conference playoffs, the Brooklyn Nets are in danger of falling out of the top eight as the teams prepare to meet for the fourth and final time this season. The Nets dropped their last two games of a 2-5 road trip and enter a challenging three-game homestand in seventh place in the East, a half-game up on eighth-place Miami and a game ahead of Orlando.
“We have to recharge our batteries,” Brooklyn coach Kenny Atkinson told reporters after a 123-110 loss at Philadelphia on Thursday. “It’s been a long trip. We have to somehow get that juice back. We lacked a little juice tonight.” After the Celtics leave town, the Nets play host to Milwaukee and Toronto — the top two teams in the East — before visiting the first-place Bucks next Saturday. Boston moved into a tie with Indiana for fourth place with a 114-112 victory over the Pacers at home Friday night. The Celtics currently own the tiebreaker over Indiana by virtue of leading the season series 2-1, but they have to visit the Pacers on Friday.
TV: 6 p.m. ET, NBCS Boston, YES (Brooklyn)
ABOUT THE CELTICS (45-31): Kyrie Irving capped a 30-point performance against the Pacers with the go-ahead basket with 0.5 seconds left. “We just wanted to give him space, let him be him,” coach Brad Stevens told reporters of Irving, who is averaging 33.5 points, eight rebounds and five assists over his last two road games. Center Aron Baynes notched his first double-double this season with 13 points and 13 rebounds in Friday’s win.
ABOUT THE NETS (38-38): Joe Harris scored 22 points on 8-of-12 shooting in the loss to the 76ers while his fellow starters combined for 20 points on 9-of-30 from the floor and 0-of-6 from the foul line. “It’s really bitten us,” Atkinson told reporters of his team’s performance at the charity stripe, where it has missed 23 attempts during the two-game slide. “You have to make your free throws.” Star guard D’Angelo Russell averaged 28.3 points through the first six games of the trip before being held to 13 to go along with seven turnovers at Philadelphia.
1. Nets SG Allen Crabbe (knee) has missed six straight games.
2. Celtics SF Jayson Tatum is 6-for-8 from 3-point range over the last two games.
3. Boston C Al Horford is averaging 19 points, 7.5 rebounds and two blocked shots over his last two contests.