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NBA Preview from The Sports Network



Monday, March 14th (All times eastern)

Boston Celtics (47-17) at New Jersey Nets (21-43), 7 p.m.

(Sports Network) - As the old adage goes, defense wins championships and offense sells tickets. The Boston Celtics are coming off a defensive performance for the ages and shoot for an encore performance tonight against the New Jersey Nets at the Prudential Center.

Boston set a franchise record for fewest points allowed in the shot clock era when they defeated Milwaukee, 87-56, Sunday at TD Garden. The Celtics led 20-9 after the first quarter and headed to the break with a 39-22 advantage. Ray Allen scored 17 points, Paul Pierce had 14 and Nenad Krstic added 11 points and a game-best 14 rebounds for the Celtics, winners in nine of their last 12 games. Boston held the Bucks to 31 percent shooting and had a 50-32 advantage on the backboards.

The Celtics sit a half-game ahead of Chicago for the top seed in the Eastern Conference and are closing in on their fourth straight 50-win season.

"I want home court (advantage) and all that, but I'll let everyone else do the talking," said Celtics head coach Doc Rivers. "I could care less about that stuff. If we don't (get the no. 1 seed) we'll be all right."

The Atlantic Division-leading Celtics are 19-11 away from Beantown.

New Jersey will try to push its winning streak to five games when it resumes a seven-game homestand Monday night.

The Nets are 4-1 so far on the residency and recorded a 102-98 overtime victory versus the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday, as Jordan Farmar and Brook Lopez finished with 24 points apiece for New Jersey, which is six games off the eighth and final postseason spot in the East.

Kris Humphries added 19 points and a career-high 20 rebounds. Head coach Avery Johnson wasn't impressed with the effort early on.

"We got off to a slow start," said Johnson. "We were a little lethargic in the first half."

New Jersey is riding its first four-game winning streak since Jan. 31 - Feb. 7, 2009 and hasn't won five in a row since Dec. 28 - Jan. 5 of the 2007-08 campaign. The Nets will also welcome Chicago to Newark, NJ and are 17-16 as the host this season.

Nets guard Deron Williams is probable tonight and has missed the last two contests for the birth of his child. Guard Anthony Morrow (personal) is also listed as probable for tonight.

Boston is aiming to sweep a four-game season series from New Jersey for the third time in four years and is 15-1 in the last 16 meetings with its Atlantic Division rivals.

The Celtics are undefeated in nine straight games at the Nets.

03/14 10:51:59 ET

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