BROOKLYN -- Long flights and time adjustment. Coach Lionel Hollins getting sick, and Brook Lopez (slightly) injuring his right foot. These were the complications for the Nets following their most recent trip to China. Luckily for the Lopez news, "no break, no worry" seems to be the attitude around the organization, however, Lopez would be out for Sunday's matinee affair against the Boston Celtics. Kevin Garnett and Markel Brown were also out due to a stomach virus.
"HISTORY!" This game was a test for the NBA. The Nets and Celtics played a 44 minute game opposed to a 48 minute game in attempt to shorten the games and make it easier on players to make it through the 82-game season.
Despite being up double digits most of the first half, the Nets lost their first game of the preseason, 95-90. The Celtics outscored Brooklyn 55-39 in the second half. Brooklyn was also out-rebounded 50-42 for the game, while Boston finished with 40 points in the paint and 20 second chance points. For Brooklyn, Jarrett Jack and Jerome Jordan led the way with 17 points apiece, while Deron Williams chipped in 16 . Jordan played particularly well for the Nets, going 7-of-7, finishing putbacks, reeling in alley oops and looking like Mikki Moore hitting long two pointers from the top of the key. Jordan, who never scored that many points in either preseason or regular season before, will earn a $100,000 guarantee if he makes the team.
Mirza Teletovic, who shot just 1-9 for three points attributed some of his struggles to fatigue by saying, "I think it was a lack of energy from myself. Didn't feel it at all, and when I got in the second half, I just tried to rebound."
Williams said the Nets didn't feel much of the 44-minute game, either.
"I kind of play my same rotation, I think, except for not playing the fourth quarter," Williams said. "It's really hard to tell. A minute a quarter, four minutes total in the game, when you're out there real-time you're not really thinking about it. You can't really tell anything."
Boston was led by Jared Sullinger who finished with 19 points and 19 rebounds. The loss is the first of the Nets preseason, putting their record at 3-1.
Quarter by quarter summary:
Despite missing three starters, the Nets jumped out to a solid start. The offense looked sluggish at times, but as we've seen in the past, Mason Plumlee's ability to run the floor sparked the offense a bit. As for the Nets defense, they held the Celtics to just 17 first quarter points on 5-16 shooting. They led 24-17 after the first 11 minutes of action.
With rotations still being figured out here in the preseason, Lionel Hollins played backup point guard Jarrett Jack and Deron Williams together to start the second quarter. It paid off. Jack scored five points in five minutes to help jolt what would turn out to be a 13-2 run for the Nets. He finished the half leading all scorers with 15 points on 6-8 shooting, while Williams chipped in 10.
Despite the Celtics finishing the half shooting 33% from the field, they still out-rebounded Brooklyn 29-18 in the half, a major concern heading into the regular season. Still, Brooklyn's offense was too much for Boston. They shot 52% from the field, 44% from three and converted on 13 of 17 free throws.
Score at the half: Nets 51, Celtics 40.
The Celtics redeemed their poor first half with a brilliant third quarter, both offensively and defensively. They fought their way back, all the way back to the point where they gained a 64-63 lead late in the quarter, their first since 2-0. The Celtics outscored Brooklyn 33-14 in the quarter alone, and increased their heavy rebound margin to 12. Along with that, Boston had a 38-22 scoring advantage in the paint, along with 18 second-chance points -- compared to the Nets' zero second chance points. The Nets trailed 73-65 heading into the fourth.
The Nets crept their way back into the game during the early stages of the fourth quarter, mostly behind their backup unit. While the teams continued to exchange buckets throughout the quarter, Jerome Jordan provided the Nets with a huge spark. Looking to solidify a spot on the team, Jordan displayed his mid-range jump-shot and effectiveness in the paint, scoring 13 points in the fourth quarter alone. Safe to say, he will more than likely be on the final roster come October 29th. He finished with 17 points on 7-7 shooting.
But, behind the Celtics strong second half, the Nets found their first loss of the preseason. They were outscored 55-39 in the second half. Along with that, Boston out-rebounded Brooklyn 50-42, finishing with 40 points in the paint and 20 second chance points. This will be a problem for Brooklyn if they do not improve the interior part of their game.
Final score: Celtics 95, Nets 90.
The Nets will face off against the Philadelphia 76ers, Monday night in Brooklyn.
For more on the Boston Celtics, check them out at CelticsBlog.