Follow the Nets' return to New York with Newsday's Rod Boone.
Starters taking a rest in Beantown tonight
BOSTON – If you were planning on flipping on NBATV tonight to get a another peek at the new-look Nets, don't expect to see any of their starters in action against the Celtics.
Avery Johnson is going with a starting lineup loaded with reserves, opting to give his main five a day off after playing two games in three nights, including Monday's 98-88 victory over the Wizards at the Barclays Center. The Nets will trot out a starting five of C.J. Watson, Keith Bogans, Josh Childress, Reggie Evans and Andray Blatche against Boston's usual cast.
Besides their main starters, the only other player who won't be available is MarShon Brooks, who's still recovering from his right foot tendinitis. Rookie Tyshawn Taylor could see his first action and play anywhere between 12 to 14 minutes.
Johnson's reasoning for going with a makeshift lineup?
"Maintenance and recovery with certain players, rest for other players," he said about 90 minutes before tipoff at the TD Garden. "There are some new players and young, young players on our roster that we need to get minutes for, and there are probably some other guys we’ll get some minutes for just in case they have a shot with another NBA team.
"So that’s the thought process in what we are doing with this game."
Johnson surely wasn't going to pull the plug in the Nets' starters in their first two preseason games, and Thursday's nationally-televised matchup with the Celtics on TNT wouldn't have been ideal, either, since they want to showcase themselves.
He also wants his guys to play in Friday's matchup with the Sixers at Barclays. So if he was going to go with this kind of plan, Tuesday night was his best shot at giving Deron Williams, Joe Johnson & Co. a breather.
"This was the game," Johnson said. "We don’t have many preseason games, but if it was a game where we could rest a guy like Brook [Lopez] and see how he responded to last night ... We knew we were going to go heavy on Joe’s minutes. Deron’s in great shape, so it’s a great night for him to rest. Same with [Gerald] Wallace. Somebody like [Kris] Humphries is in pretty good shape.
"We’ve got to get some other guys some playing time."
Johnson also wanted to get a look at certain combinations and downplayed any possibility that he's trying to hold some stuff back so the Nets' Atlantic Division rivals don't get too good of a look at them.
"We’ve got to work on our stuff," Johnson said. "That’s what it’s all about. We are going to work on our stuff. We are going to run our plays tonight. Sure, everybody likes to keep something in their back pocket. We’ve got to get our young guys out there and get some minutes.
"I’ve been in television before, so I’ll be a hypocrite if I said I didn’t care about national TV, especially for us. We haven’t been on it much. But this was a night we needed to rest some guys, play some other guys, and then we’ll have everybody on Thursday. Whether that game was on national TV or not, we just need to get our guys back in on Thursday and Friday."