Gameday Dish: Nets vs. Celtics

Photo by Elsa/Getty ImagesMore bad news for the Nets: The shorthanded squad will face the Celtics tonight without starting point guard Deron Williams, who is recovering from a collision with Pacers forward Tyler Hansbrough in Monday’s 108-94 loss to Indiana. Power forward Kris Humphries will also be sidelined for the second straight game with a sprained shoulder.

Factor in the loss of leading scorer Brook Lopez, who will be out at least another month after undergoing foot surgery, and the Nets’ mounting casualties add up to another big setback for their struggling offense (NJN are shooting a league-worst 38.4 percent from the field). Williams, Humphries and Lopez combined for 52 points in their 88-79 home win over Boston the last time these Atlantic Division rivals met. This will be a daunting deficit for their starting lineup stand-ins to overcome.

Boston has also been impacted by some early season injuries. Paul Pierce missed the first few games due to a bone bruise in his right heel. Ray Allen will sit out tonight because of an illness. And the Celtics have some concerns about center Jermaine O’Neal, who missed Monday’s 100-92 win over the Washington Wizards due to lingering soreness in his left hamstring.

But with Pierce back in the lineup Boston bounced back from a tough start to even out their record at 3-3. Head coach Doc Rivers is working to integrate a number of new players into his system including Brandon Bass, who replaces the minutes “Big Baby” Davis put in before he was shipped south to the Orlando Magic. Bass has given his team an energy boost off the bench and proven that he can make baskets in the clutch, so he should be earning more court time as the taxing season wears on.

YES will bring you live coverage from the TD Garden where the Nets will try to change their luck and the Beantown Boys will play for their fourth straight W at 7:30 PM EST.

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