The Nets played the Celtics in an exhibition matchup Thursday night and squandered a game that was theirs for the taking. Boston went on a 6-0 run within the last 48 seconds and took a 100-97 victory.
Things only got worse for the Nets Monday. They suffered a 120-99 loss to the Celtics, that wasn’t close except for a brief third quarter interlude.
The Celtics dominated most of the game behind a big performance from Isaiah Thomas. It was hardly close at any point in the first half, but then in the third, the Celtics took their starters out and the Nets made a big run. They cut the deficit down to two with Jeremy Lin and Sean Kilpatrick providing an offensive spark. Then, Kenny Atkinson re-inserted the reserves and the game got out of hand... quick. The Celtics led by 18 at the end of the third quarter and this one was over early.
The Nets have averaged just 34 3-point attempts in the first four preseason games. Monday, they hit 11 on 32 attempts, only slightly better than Thursday’s 10-of-35.
The motion offense is necessary for the fast-paced NBA style nowadays, but at the same time, at Atkinson told Kevin Arnovitz, you need to play to your strengths. With that being said, where has the pick and roll been between Brook Lopez and Jeremy Lin?
Yes, It’s preseason. But Lopez hasn’t found much of a groove in the preseason… at all. He’s camped out on the 3-point line and rarely sets and picks to free up neither the ball handler nor himself. In 19 minutes of action, he finished with six points on 2-of-8 shooting. This is worth keeping an eye on as the season approaches.
Isaiah Thomas was too fast for Brooklyn’s guards and led the way with 19 points, while Jae Crowder chipped in 11. For Brooklyn, Sean Kilpatrick led with 15 points, Jeremy Lin with 13 points and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson with 10. Chris McCullough also impressed with eight points off the bench.
Meanwhile with Greivis Vasquez sitting out (rest), Isaiah Whitehead had a golden opportunity to prove he’s capable of playing the one. He struggled. The Brooklyn native scored five points on 1-of-6 shooting and zero assists.
Since this game wasn’t televised in New York, unless you had League Pass, we did the recap a bit different with a quick quarter-by-quarter recap.
1st quarter… Celtics 29, Nets 16.
The Nets looked scrappy on the defensive end to start the game, but then things got out of hand when the second unit checked in. At once a 13-12 Celtics lead ended in a 29-16 scored at the end of the quarter after a 16-4 run. The Nets shot 5-of-18 and the reserves (Bojan Bogdanovic, Luis Scola, Chris McCullough, Isaiah Whitehead and Randy Foye) had an average of minus-10 on the floor.
Halftime… Celtics 62, Nets 50.
The defense continued to struggle as Thomas consistently scorched Brooklyn’s guards with his speed, finishing the half with 19 points and leading Boston to a 34-point quarter. The Nets cut it within eight after a spark from Sean Kilpatrick, but the defense had zero answers for Boston’s attack. On the bright side, they forced 15-first half turnovers but had nothing to show for it.
3rd quarter… Celtics 94, Nets 76
The Nets turned this game around and went on a 12-0 run to cut down their deficit to five, and then later two, but Boston finished the quarter on a 23-7 run and gained its biggest lead of the night at 18. The Nets starters brought them back with Boston resting its starters. But once Brooklyn inserted its reserves – mostly guys fighting for a rotation spot – the game got way out of hand.
4th quarter… Final: Celtics 120, Nets 99.
As expected, it became a game between each teams reserves. We got a quick look at Beau Beech who came in firing away with three 3-point attempts. He nailed one. Chase Budinger also got some burn and scored 10 points. Otherwise, it was all Celtics in this one.
The Nets will see the Celtics again on October 26 in the season opener. Maybe they’ll find vengeance when it matters. Maybe they won’t. As for now, they have one more preseason game remaining against the Knicks on Thursday.
- Boxscore - Nets vs. Celtics - NBA.com
- Thomas with the left-hand floater (Video) - NBA.com
- Rozier with the step back (Video) - NBA.com
- RHJ to Lopez (Video) - NBA.com
- Kilpatrick Fastbreak (Video) - NBA.com
- Lin Driving Layup (Video) - NBA.com
- Hollis-Jefferson three-pointer (Video) - NBA.com
- Nets vs. Celtics (Gallery) - Brooklyn Nets
- Nets will abide by this four-letter ‘P’ word all season long - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- Celtics clock Nets in TD Garden exhibition - Adam Himmelsbach - Boston Globe
- Nets coach expects Celtics to thrive on defense - Adam Himmelsbach - Boston Globe
- Nets’ Atkinson on his Horford connection - Mark Murphy - Boston Herald
- Isaiah Thomas perfect from the field as Boston Celtics top Brooklyn Nets, 120-99 - Jay King - Springfield Republican
- Young, Hunter propel Celtics to 120-99 win over Nets - A. Sherrod Blakely - Comcast Sports Net