BOSTON — The Celtics are slowly but surely becoming relatively whole, with Jaylen Brown returning to the starting lineup tonight.
Brown has missed the past two games with a right knee injury suffered in the Christmas Day loss to Washington.
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In addition to Brown, Boston will also have Marcus Morris available tonight.
Morris has missed 21 games this season and three of the past five games due to a sore left knee that has bothered him since the start of the season.
The 6-foot-9 forward told NBC Sports Boston that he anticipated being on a minutes restriction tonight, but is eager to play whatever minutes he’s given.
"I'm feeling pretty good," Morris said. "I'm ready to go."
The news isn't as good for rookie Semi Ojeleye who will not play tonight.
He suffered a hard fall in Boston’s win over Chicago on Dec. 23 and has been out each of the three games since then with a back contusion that’s improving but not at a point where the 6-7 rookie can return.
“He is feeling a lot better,” Stevens said of Ojeleye. “He went through quite a bit before shoot-around, but isn’t quite ready.”
HAPPY NEW YEAR
Tonight’s game will be the first time the Celtics have played on New Year’s Eve since 2014. Overall, Boston is 13-7 on New Year’s Eve, which includes a 9-5 mark at home. For the Nets, this will be their first New Year’s Eve game since 2013 and their record on this date is 1-6, which has made games at the end of the year a major buzzkill for the Nets.
TATUM SHINES IN THE SECOND HALF
The fourth quarter is usually when Kyrie Irving steps his game up, but he has had some help down the stretch in the form of Jayson Tatum. The 6-foot-8 forward has shot 61.4 percent in the fourth quarter which ranks fourth in the NBA among players with at least 40 made field goals. A big part of his fourth-quarter success is his 3-point shooting. In the fourth, he’s 12-for-22 from 3-point range, which ranks fifth among players in the fourth.
Terry Rozier comes into tonight’s game having reached double figures in each of the past three games, which matches the longest streak of his career. In that span, he has averaged 14.7 points on 59 percent shooting from the field along with 5.3 rebounds.
TYLER ZELLER RETURNS
The Celtics face another familiar face tonight in Tyler Zeller who has been one of the more productive players for the Nets this season.
That comes as no surprise to Celtics coach Brad Stevens.
“It makes you really appreciate how good our team was when you look across the league and how many of these guys are starting, playing great,” Stevens said.
This season, Zeller is averaging 8.3 points and 5.1 rebounds per game.
“Tyler, since he’s been inserted in their starting lineup, has been very consistent," Stevens said. "He’s always been able to score. I told our team yesterday, he’s probably the best rim-runner that I’ve ever coached as far as getting down the floor in transition. He flies down there. It’s good to see him have success. It’s a good set-up down there, good situation. You’re happy for him.”