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Preview: Nets (44-38) at Celtics (25-57)
BT Movements  ·  Line Movements
Date: March 07, 2014 7:30 PM EDT
  

The Brooklyn Nets are above .500 for the first time this season. It doesn't seem like they should have trouble staying there Friday night.

The Nets aim to match their longest winning streak of the season as they travel to face the woeful Boston Celtics.

Winners of four straight, the Nets (30-29) have locked down on defense, allowing 90.3 points per game during the streak and forcing an average of 22.8 turnovers. Brooklyn is coming off easy wins over two of the league's hottest teams, defeating Chicago 96-80 on Monday and leading by as many as 30 in a 103-94 win over Memphis on Wednesday.

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The Nets are an Eastern Conference-best 20-8 in 2014, highlighted by a pair of five-game win streaks in January, to recover from a 10-21 start to the season.

"It's not always how you start, it's going to be how you finish," forward Paul Pierce said. "And I think with the way we've been playing as of late, since the All-Star break, since the turn of the new year, this is the Nets team that I envisioned from the beginning of the season."

Pierce will be playing his second game back in Boston since he, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry were traded to Brooklyn last July. Garnett won't be available Friday, missing a fourth straight game because of back spasms. Terry has since been dealt to Sacramento.

Also returning to Boston will be Jason Collins, who played 32 games for the Celtics last season. Brooklyn is 5-1 since signing the league's first openly gay player, though Collins has just three points and six rebounds in 53 minutes.

When these teams last played Jan. 26 in Boston, Pierce and Garnett were honored by the Celtics with video tributes and loud standing ovations. Pierce shot 2 for 10 from the field as he and Garnett were each held to six points, but Brooklyn won 85-79.

"As long as I'm in the league it's going to be tough, because I know I'm going to have to come back to the Boston Garden," Pierce said following the first meeting in Boston, where he and Garnett helped the Celtics win the 2008 championship. "You put so much energy in one spot, and there's always going to be memories."

While Brooklyn has won 15 of 16 against teams which are currently under .500, Boston has dropped seven straight and 23 of 25 versus opponents that have winning records.

The Celtics (20-41) have lost seven of eight overall while making 29.2 percent of their 3-pointers, second-worst in the NBA since Feb. 12.

They were 7 of 26 on Wednesday in a 108-88 loss to Golden State. Rookie center Kelly Olynyk made three 3-pointers and led Boston with 19 points off the bench after missing the previous two games with an injured toe.

Olynyk has been showing some promise, averaging 11.2 points and 7.3 rebounds in his last nine games.

"I think he's on the right progression. He's on the right path," coach Brad Stevens said. "I think he's rebounding a little bit better. He's shooting the 3 a little bit more freely now than he was at the start of our season."

The Nets have won five of six against their Atlantic Division rivals, including the last three in Boston.

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2014
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved

 CURRENT LAS VEGAS LINE
 Team  ML   SPR   O/U 
 NJN  -220   -5.5   200 
 BOS  +180   +5.5   
LAS VEGAS LINE MOVEMENTS

 CURRENT SPORTSBOOK LINE
 Team  ML   SPR   O/U 
 NJN  -230   -5.5   200 
 BOS  +195   +5.5   
OFFSHORE LINE MOVEMENTS

 BETTING TRENDS
 Team  ML   SPR   O/U 
 NJN  43%   67%   35% 
 BOS  57%   33%   65% 
BT MOVEMENTS

 NBA HEAD TO HEAD
 Jan 26, 2014  Score  ATS Results 
 NJN 85 Cover: 1.5 
 BOS 79 Under: 164 
 Tools:   Recaps
 Dec 10, 2013  Score  ATS Results 
 BOS 96 Over: 200 
 NJN 104 Cover: 6 
 Tools:   Recaps
 Oct 23, 2013  Score  ATS Results 
 NJN 97 Over: 198 
 BOS 101 Cover: 0.5 
 Tools:   Recaps
 Oct 15, 2013  Score  ATS Results 
 BOS 80 Cover: 1 
 NJN 82 Under: 162 
 Tools:   Recaps
 Apr 10, 2013  Score  ATS Results 
 NJN 101 Cover: 11 
 BOS 93 Over: 194 
 Tools:   Recaps
 Dec 25, 2012  Score  ATS Results 
 BOS 93 Cover: 20 
 NJN 76 Under: 169 
 Tools:   Recaps
 Nov 28, 2012  Score  ATS Results 
 NJN 95 Cover: 15.5 
 BOS 83 Under: 178 
 Tools:   Recaps
 Nov 15, 2012  Score  ATS Results 
 BOS 97 Cover: 0 
 NJN 102 Over: 199 
 Tools:   Recaps
 Oct 18, 2012  Score  ATS Results 
 BOS 115 Cover: 33 
 NJN 85 Over: 200 
 Tools:   Recaps
 Oct 16, 2012  Score  ATS Results 
 NJN 97 Cover: 6 
 BOS 96 Over: 193 
 Tools:   Recaps

 NBA PREVIEWS
 Friday, Mar 7
 
    Grizzlies at Bulls
7:05 PM EDT
    Kings at Raptors
7:05 PM EDT
    Cavaliers at Bobcats
7:05 PM EDT
    Nets at Celtics
7:35 PM EDT
    Jazz at Knicks
7:35 PM EDT
    Bucks at Pelicans
8:05 PM EDT
    Pistons at Timberwolves
8:05 PM EDT
    Trail Blazers at Mavericks
8:35 PM EDT
    Lakers at Nuggets
9:05 PM EDT
    Pacers at Rockets
9:35 PM EDT
    Hawks at Warriors
10:35 PM EDT
 
 
 
  
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