We are live from the Garden for tonight’s game between the Celtics  and the New Jersey Nets . We are at the midway point of the Celtics season  and oddly this is the first meeting between the two teams. The Celtics have already played Toronto four times, the Knicks three times and the Sixers twice, but no Swamp Dragons  so far. Curious.
We’ll be following the matchup between Rajon Rondo  and Devin Harris all night, but there’s also an intriguing situation with 7-foot rookie Brook Lopez  and Brian Scalabrine , who is most definitely not 7-feet but is starting in place of Kendrick Perkins .
Away we go…
FIRST QUARTER WRAP: Holy Big Baby! As the clock wound down, Baby got off an awkward 35-foot 3-pointer and drained it. Amazing.
Before that shot, the zone has had little effect on the Celtics so far. Ray Allen  has been free for a couple of wide-open looks and Garnett has been able to work out of the high post with great efficiency. Allen and KG both have eight points. The Nets are hanging in thanks to a nice quarter by Devin Harris, but Brook Lopez has been totally neutralized, going 1-for-7 and having his shot blocked by the likes of Paul Pierce  and Leon Powe .
On to the second quarter where Jess will be your spirit guide.
First Quarter Observations
— The Nets open up with Ryan Anderson  on Kevin Garnett , which will not go well. KG already has two quick buckets. KG is guarding Lopez, which makes sense, but the Celtics would prefer that Garnett not guard bigger players. It takes away from his ability to roam.
— The Celtics are clearly sending a message in the first few minutes. They are in full attack mode and the Nets haven’t woken up yet.
— Scal dunks!!!!
— Haven’t seen much of the Nets dribble-drive, or dribble-weave if you prefer, offense yet. It’s an interesting experiment. Memphis used to great effect in the NCAAs but it’s a much different league and the Nets use pick and rolls a lot more than Coach Cal’s crew does. Devin Harris has thrived in the offense, as has Vince Carter .
— New Jersey is playing a lot of zone on defense, by the way.
— Rondo’s got two quick ones.
— OK Vince Carter is down and it looks like he’s really hurt. He’s hopping back to the bench. We’ll pass along an update when we get it. At the other end it looked like Lopez put a forearm shiver into Rondo, but Bobby Simmons got the foul so I’m a little unsure, not having replay and all. At any rate this one could get a little chippy.
— Kendrick Perkins is dressed for the occasion if it gets nasty out there. He looks like a very well-dressed hit man in his all-black suit.
— Vince Carter is now limping back to the dressing room and Jarvis Hayes is in.
— Zone meet buster (Ray Allen).
— The one thing the zone does is invite a lot of decent early looks. The Celtics have gotten much better looks when they cut and move, however.
— Devin Harris is certainly living up to his billing with eight points so far. I’m mildly surprised that Doc stayed with Rondo after he got those two early fouls, but Rondo has been good about avoiding contact with Harris. he even picked his pocket coming from the weak side on a possession. He obviously can’t affird a third foul before the quarter ends.
— Baby just put a forearm into Keyon Dooling  and Dooling did not care for it. There seems to be an edge out there tonight.