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Good Riddance 2017: Brooklyn’s comeback falls short in Boston, 108-105

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NBA: Brooklyn Nets at Boston Celtics Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Good riddance, 2017.

It seems appropriate that Brooklyn’s final loss of 2017 came in Boston, where they left all their draft picks. Final score: 108-105.

The Nets hung around and fought back throughout the game – and that was the problem. They had to fight to dig themselves out of one hole after another.

At the end, the script was familiar. They trailed by 14. Then nine. Then, before you knew it, they trailed by five with two minutes remaining.

At that point, they trotted down the court, looking for that next comeback and got into the halfcourt set.

After Rondae Hollis-Jefferson grabbed an offensive board, Quincy Acy rewarded him and the Nets with a 3-pointer.

Down three, Marcus Smart missed a free throw, but Spencer Dinwiddie forced a deep 3-pointer with 14 seconds left. It bricked far left, and the Celtics sealed the deal at the line.

“I think he could have gotten closer; I think he could have curled tighter,” Kenny Atkinson said of Dinwiddie’s shot. “That was the play for him to come off that screen. It was longer than we wanted, but it was an open catch-and-shoot. I told him to take it. I wish it was a little closer.”

And so, as we’ve said so many times this past year: They battled. Now 13-23 for the season, Brooklyn finished the 2017 calendar year with a 25-60 record.

The Celtics shot 49.4 percent – and 42 percent from 3-point. They out-rebounded the Nets by five but the Nets finished with eight less turnovers. Boston took the Nets out of their offense early by pressuring shooters on the perimeter. The Nets shot 30 percent from 3-point, 40 percent overall.

Kenny Atkinson’s New Year’s Resolution was consistency. Maybe the Nets will find it in 2018.

The Celtics went up big right from the start. Poor starts have become a trend for the Nets, as Boston went up 13 and shot 70 percent in the first quarter.

Then, Caris LeVert and the bench mob came in and did what they do best: Revived the Nets.

LeVert dropped five points and one assists in a 9-0 run, which trimmed the 13-point deficit down to four. He subbed out leading all scorers with 12 points, while Dinwiddie and the starters came back and finished the half strong, cutting this thing down to one at half.

The Nets kept fighting and even took a two-point lead at one point in the third, but Boston still entered the fourth with a six-point lead.

Brooklyn chipped away and cut this thing down to three late in the game, Nets’ possession with more than 10 seconds left. Spencer Dinwiddie took a deep 3-pointer, which missed far left, as Boston sealed the deal at the line.

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson posted his fourth career 20/10 game with 22 points and 12 rebounds on 10-of-21 shooting. Caris LeVert capped off his phenomenal month of December with 16 points, six rebounds seven assists and two steals in 30 minutes. Acy stayed hot with 14 points off the bench.

Allen Crabbe’s struggles continued, finishing with 12 points on 2-of-10 shooting from deep.

For Boston, Kyrie Irving led with 28 points and eight rebounds.

“TWO WEEKS”

Then, right after the game ended, cameras caught Russell speaking briefly with Kyrie Irving. Lip readers among Nets fans seemed to think they saw D-Lo mouth the words, “two weeks,” when speaking with Kyrie Irving postgame. Had Irving asked when he’ll back?

Here’s evidence...

And here’s slo-mo evidence...

***

Here’s to hoping 2018 goes a little better for everything Nets. We’ll see how it gets going tomorrow against the Orlando Magic, 7:30 pm.

For a different perspective, head on over to Celtics Blog.