It could have been worse. After leaving the game with a sore right ankle and a sore right wrist, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Isaiah Whitehead pronounced themselves alright ... and x-rays were negative.
But bottom line, the Nets didn’t have enough —although they certainly tried— to overcome the Celtics and went down to their fifth straight loss, 111-92, Wednesday night. Only a double overtime loss by the 76ers kept the Nets out of the Eastern Conference cellar.
The Nets, unlike the last two games, went down early, 11-2, then 17-8, before finishing the quarter, 30-16. It looked like a long night, but in the second, the Nets showed some life, propelled by Bojan Bogdanovic, coming within two points at the half, 51-49.
Then came the third (cue up the Titanic/iceberg GIF) and after a short spurt early, tying things up at 60, the pattern fans are all too familiar with returned.
Then, as Brian Lewis wrote, the Celtics locked in. Nine straight points in a minute and a half and Brooklyn’s fate was sealed. The rest was hoping for a merciful end as the Celtics pulled away.
During that ugliness, both RHJ and Whitehead went to the locker room, but x-rays turned up negative. Neither returned to the fray, but both said they’d be fine. There was no indication either will need an MRI, but we will wait-and-see. First rule of sportswriting: never believe what a player says about his health.
Beyond the x-rays, there were other positives, starting with the defense. A couple of days of Kenny Atkinson’s tear-it-down practice seemed to have worked. They did ie up 111 points, but held Boston to 45.9-percent shooting. In terms of the Nets defense, that defines progress.
Individually, Sean Kilpatrick seemed to have finally recovered from his slump, no doubt induced by having to spend too many minutes filling at the point. He finished with 23 points and a lot of renewed confidence.
“[We have to] have individual pride,’’ Kilpatrick had said before the game. “When you have games like we had, especially the last game with them scoring as many points as they did, there wasn’t a lot of individual pride. That’s something coach has been preaching to us the most.”
Trevor Booker continued his consistent play, with yet another double-double, 18 points and 12 rebounds this time. Brook Lopez had a rare low scoring game, with 13 points on 4-of-14 shooting, 1-of-6 from deep.
But the big news remains the loss of depth at the point. Jeremy Lin missed his ninth straight game. leaving minutes to Whitehead before he went down and Yogi Ferrell.
For Boston, it was another well-balanced attack, led by the backcourt of Isaiah Thomas (23) and Avery Bradley (22).
“They hit some big three-point shots that broke the game open,” Nets coach Kenny Atkinson said. “We had some good looks at the rim that didn’t go down . . . They made 15 three-pointers. That’s too much in a game like that.”
The game saw an oddity, some might say history. Chris McCullough played a minute of garbage time for the Brooklyn Nets after playing 33 minutes for the Long Island Nets. He’s the fourth NBA player to do so, following Jordan Farmar and Coby Karl, both with the Lakers and D-Fenders, and Cleanthony Early, with the New York and Westchester Knicks.
The Nets will have Thanksgiving tomorrow, then it’s on to Indiana and the Pacers on Friday.
- Box Score - Boston Celtics at Brooklyn Nets - NBA.com
- Highlights: Celtics 111, Nets 93 (Video) - NBA.com
- Kilpatrick with the and-one (Video) - NBA.com
- Lopez to Bogdanovic (Video) - NBA.com
- Booker breaks out the euro-step (Video) - NBA.com
- Nice assist by Smart (Video) - NBA.com
- Smart uses the dribble to set up the assist (Video) - NBA.com
- Crowder cleans it up (Video) - NBA.com
- Bogdanovic Scores 12 Points in the Second quarter (Video) - Brooklyn Nets
- Kilpatrick Drops 11 Points in Fourth (Video) - Brooklyn Nets
- Atkinson on loss to Celtics (Video) - YES Network
- Lopez on Nets' loss to Celtics (VIdeo) - YES Network
- Post-Game Plus (Video) - Bob Lorenz - YES Network
- Brooklyn Nets have defensive issues in home loss to Boston Celtics - AP
- Horford guides Celtics past Nets - Larry Fleisher - Reuters
- Struggling Nets doomed by another porous third quarter - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- Chris McCullough pulls off unique doubleheader for Nets - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- Nets dig hole then rally, only to fall in deep again in loss to Celtics - Greg Logan - Newsday
- Kenny Atkinson not looking back at loss of first-round picks - Greg Logan - Newsday
- Nets drop fifth straight in 111-92 loss to Celtics - Peter Botte - New York Daily News
- Nets start slow, finish slow in loss to division rival Celtics - Justis Doucet - The Brooklyn Game
- Why The Nets Keep Losing: Diagnosing The Issues In Brooklyn - Nicholas LeTourneau - Brook-Lin
- It may have been a bit premature to worry about the Celtics - Chad Finn - Boston Globe
- Celtics Net blowout victory in Brooklyn - Steve Bulpett - Boston Herald
- Celtics Notebook: Jae Crowder’s luck is bad, not his ankle - Steve Bulpett - Boston Herald
- Celtics win third straight, beat the Nets 111-93 - A. Sherrod Blakely - Comcast Sports Net
- Stars, Studs and Duds: Shooting Numbers Don’t Tell Whole Story For Smart - A. Sherrod Blakely - Comcast Sports Net
- Every meeting with Brooklyn Nets a reminder: Boston Celtics in great shape for the future with draft picks on the way - Jay King - Springfield Republican
- Celtics down the Nets 111-92 for their third straight win - Lachlan Marr - Celtics Blog