There was a time, early in the 2013-14, when the Celtics led the Atlantic division, and the Nets were struggling to adjust. That time is long gone now, however.
Since January 1, the Nets are 20-8, with a .714 winning percentage that's the best in the Eastern Conference and third-best in the NBA. The Celtics have gone the other direction, at 7-23 in that span, with a .233 winning percentage, third-worst in the NBA.
The Nets have won 15 of 16 against teams with losing records, and they've won five of their last six against Boston.
Former Celtic Kevin Garnett did not travel to Boston and will miss tonight's game due to back spasms.
Joe Johnson is a game-time decision for the Nets as well, due to an illness.
Key Matchup: Rajon Rondo, named the Celtics' captain this season, played well in the Nets' previous game in Boston.
Rondo had 13 points, eight assists, and eight rebounds in that game back on January 26. Deron Williams came off the bench in that game, with seven points, seven assists, and seven rebounds of his own. The two star point guards square off again tonight.
Player to Watch: Marcus Thornton became the first Nets player to score 15 or more points off the bench in consecutive games in 14 years, and if Joe Johnson is unable to go, Thornton might get called upon to have a big role again on Friday.