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Nets lost, but Brook Lopez became their all-time leading scorer

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NBA: Brooklyn Nets at Philadelphia 76ers Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

It was a loss in Boston, but Brook Lopez is finally and officially the Nets’ all-time leading scorer.

Lopez, who scored six points in a lackluster first half, came out of the halftime break like a man on a mission. He was less chasing history than a win but he made it happen anyway. On his 23rd point of the night, Lopez passed Buck Williams and became the all-time leading scorer in Nets history with 10,444 total – 25 on the night. Lopez has been with the team for nine seasons in three different arenas and two different states, playing for nine different coaches and 109 teammates.

“It’s a great honor, I’ll be honest with you,’’ said Lopez, who asked for the game ball and got it. “I’m just proud to have my name up there with those guys.”

Asked for his special Nets memories, Lopez laughed and told reporters, “I don’t know if I can pick out specific ones, but definitely ones where we won games are my favorite.”

If anybody deserves the record, it’s Brook Lopez.

The Nets, meanwhile, looked lifeless in the and dug themselves in a deep hole 18-point hole in the first half. They fought back in the second half and scored 65 points in the second half, but it wasn’t enough. The (52-29) Boston Celtics officially clinched the Atlantic Division title with a 114-105 victory over the Nets (20-61).

Oh, and they still own the Nets’ pick (for those wondering). It was UGLY from the beginning.

The Nets scored a season-low 13 points on a season-worst 3-of-21 shooting in the first quarter. The Celtics led 28-13 and then 58-40 at half as the Nets shot 28 percent in the first two periods. Jeremy Lin was the only player in double figures with 11 points 24 minutes in.

The energy just wasn’t there, and it didn’t look like it would be there in the second after Boston increased it to 27.

As we’ve seen and heard all season: the Nets didn’t give up.

Lopez caught fire and scored 11 points in the quarter. The starters - namely Lopez and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson - sparked the Nets and went on a 12-0, 31-14 extended run and cut the deficit down to 10 late in the third. They scored 37 points and trailed 90-77 entering the fourth. Unlike the first half, they took care of the ball and hit their open shots.

The Brooklyns carried it over into the fourth quarter and trailed by just seven following a 7-0 run approaching the six minute mark. They had their chances to get it below that margin, but they missed seven consecutive field goals and the Celtics eventually made them pay.

Kenny Atkinson talked about his team post-game.

"These guys could easily ease back and relax, but that hasn't been the case," said Atkinson.

“They keep fighting. Brook and Jeremy are leading it. They're fighting for more and more minutes. They want to keep playing. And then our young guys are trying to prove themselves. They're fighting for minutes. They're fighting for contracts. They're fighting for their future."

They fought, but it simply wasn’t enough.

Jeremy Lin led the Nets with 26 points and a career high 12 rebounds as well as a career-high 16 free throws. He was their only source of offense in the first half.

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson finished with 17 points, 11 rebounds and a season-high four steals – his second consecutive game with a double-double. He’s played extremely well since being inserted at the four which he played at Arizona.

The Nets committed just four turnovers in the second half but shot 35 percent on the night. Isaiah Thomas’ 27 points, meanwhile, led the Celtics to victory.

***

JAYLEN VS. CARIS

Jaylen Brown was taken with the Nets pick in last year’s draft while Caris LeVert was taken at No. 20 with a pick the Nets had to trade for. In tonight’s match-up, CLV finished with 12 points on 4-of-12 shooting in 27 minutes; Brown with three points on 1-of-3 shooting in 17 minutes. Both are athletic 6’7” wings who their teams think will eventually be stars. James Young, who Boston took with the Nets pick in 2014, was a DNP-CD

RONDAE’S IMPROVEMENT AT THE 4

In the last 10 games, Hollis-Jefferson is averaging 10.7 points, 8.3 rebounds and shooting 44.3 percent, including 33.3 percent from three. In the last two, it’s 18 points and 11.5 rebounds.

WATCH OUT, CLEVELAND

Boston's win over the Nets, combined with the Cleveland's overtime loss to the Heat, leaves the Celtics one game up in the East with one game left. With a win over the visiting Bucks in Wednesday's regular-season finale, the Celtics will secure the No. 1 seed and guarantee home-court advantage through the Eastern Conference finals.

And Miami’s win keeps the Nets hopes of gaining the Pacers’ second round pick alive.

Next up: Wednesday at Chicago -- the final game of the season