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Big game, big letdown as Nets lose 110-91 in crucial game vs. Celtics

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Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

The Brooklyn Nets are like a box of chocolate. You never know what you're going to get.

Despite the biggest game of the year. Despite a superstar performance from Brook Lopez. And despite winning four of the last five in attempt to push for the playoffs, the Nets laid an egg on their home-court and lost to the Boston Celtics, 110-91.

The Nets trailed Boston by a half game heading into the contest, but failed to capitalize on a golden opportunity of playing a less talented and exhausted Celtics team, who played the night before. "Lets go Celtics" chants poured throughout the Barclays Center as the home team was embarrassed yet again.

The Celtics jumped out to an 11-2 run to start the fourth quarter, which at that point, gave them their largest of the night. Suddenly, a game that was extremely close throughout the first half, became a catch up game for the Nets. Again.

Brook Lopez did all he could, going off for 31 points, four rebounds, one steal and two blocks on 12-of-19 shooting. He didn't attempt a shot for the final 10:42 of the game, despite having a clear matchup advantage over Boston's bigs.

The closest Brooklyn got was nine late in the quarter, but they committed an unforced turnover and Boston made them pay by answering with a 7-0 run to increase the lead to 14 with 2:33 left.

The Nets were outscored 27-17 in the fourth, and 56-42 in the second half. The mirage continues and the Nets home struggles continue, as they're now 12-20 on their home floor, sixth worst in the NBA. Of Brooklyn's 13 remaining games, 9 will be at home.

"Maybe we need to have the mindset of being on the road when we're at home, but we definitely need to take care of home better than we do," Alan Anderson said. "Our crowd, sometimes they with us, sometimes they not. When we're playing like that, what do you expect?"

He wasn't the only one without answers for the home struggles.

"I don't know," Lopez said with a confused expression. "It's bizarre. I don't know."

Evan Turner was a nightmare for Brooklyn, going off for 19 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists in 40 minutes of action. Kelly Olynyk's night was a story in it's own, as he came off the bench and torched the Nets' porous defense. He scored 18 off the bench in 17 minutes.

Olynyk was a big part of Boston's success with their pick and roll offense, one in which the Brooklyn Nets plain and simple could not defend.

"Well, they had a small guy in the pick and roll, and they had a big guy who could pop back and shoot threes," Hollins said after the game. "So they would go off the small and he'd run away, and the big would go to the basket or he was popping back."

As a whole, the Celtics shot 51.1% from the field and scored 58 points in the paint, contrary to Brooklyn's 56 in the paint -- a category they've owned since the All-Star break.

The Nets shot 36% from the field and 1-of-17 from three. They hit on just four shots outside of the paint.

You'd think after missing that many shots, they'd force the ball down low to the hot Lopez, rather than forcing up low percentage shots.

Bojan Bogdanovic has played well of late, averaging 17 points per game since the All-Star break, but struggled in this one. He shot 3-of-14 off the bench and failed to hit two open three's that would've cut the game to double digits when they most needed it. The man starting in front of him, Joe Johnson, shot 3-of-11. And finally, backup point guard Jarrett Jack was 1-of-9 from the floor with only one assist in 19 minutes of action.

The numbers speak for themselves, and that is not what a point guard's numbers should look like.

On a positive note, Deron Williams went off for a near triple-double with 10 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds. It would've been the first of his career.

Luckily, the Nets got a break from Indiana who lost tonight in Houston, and Charlotte who lost in Chicago. Either way, with this loss, the Nets fall 1.5 games out of the final seed in the East and squandered their hopes of gaining control of the eighth spot after tonight. They'll face off against the Charlotte Hornets on the road this Wednesday in another pivotal matchup to their playoff hopes.

Quarter by quarter

First ... The Nets got off to the start they needed. Despite missing a few easy shots by the rim, they attacked the hole hard and scored 14 of their 28 points inside the paint. Thaddeus Young was off to a good start with eight early points and the Nets led, 28-23. The Nets were in a decent spot despite shooting 34.9% from the field.

Second ... The Celtics started the second quarter on a 7-0 run and took their first lead of the game, and really never looked back for the rest of the first half. The Nets grabbed a season-high 14 offensive rebounds in the half, but couldn't capitalize thanks to their 34.6% shooting from the field. The Celtics on the other hand, shot 53.5% from the field and outscored Brooklyn, 31-21. Brook Lopez led all scorers with 12 points on 5-of-8 shooting.

Score at the half: Celtics 54, Nets 49.

Third ... Boston scored 29 points in the third quarter and watched their lead rise as high as 14, the largest of the game. The Nets just couldn't defend the Celtics pick and roll game, and to make matters worse, they were shooting 37.1% from the floor and 1-of-11 from three. The Celtics led, 83-74.

Fourth ... Celtics jumped out to an 11-2 run to start the fourth quarter and give them a 16 point lead, their largest of the night and suddenly, it was a catch-up game for the Nets, yet again. Plumlee was the suspect. Lopez, who at the time at 31 points, was subbed out for Mason Plumlee, who struggled defending Boston's bigs. The bigs went to town and suddenly the Nets were getting destroyed.

The Nets cut it to 9 but committed a costly unforced turnover and the Celtics made them pay. Boston immediately answered with a 7-0 run an increased their lead to 14 with 2:33 left. Game over.

Final score: Celtics 110, Nets 91.

No PapaJohns for you...

For more on the Boston Celtics, check them out at CelticsBlog.