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Depleted Nets get blown out in Boston, 116-95

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NBA: Brooklyn Nets at Boston Celtics David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

The Nets were missing five key rotation players and played their 10th back-to-back, the most in the NBA. But we offer no excuses. Nor did the coach.

“I give them all the credit. We had 10 guys. That’s enough to play in this league,” Kenny Atkinson said. “We had 10 NBA players. We just didn’t play well enough. I don’t think it was a matter of bodies.”

With that being said, it’s easy to understand why Brooklyn’s three-game win streak was snapped, 116-95, Monday night in Boston. The Nets entered the game having won 12 of 15 while sitting in seventh place in the East, but the loss dropped them to eighth — 12 game behind the Hornets.

The Celtics (24-15) meanwhile, won their third straight game and showed why their record isn’t indicative of their play. In a balanced attack, they were led by Kyrie Irving (17 points, six assists). Eight players finished in double figures.

Despite opening the night with four straight three’s, the Nets had a hard time finding offense. They led 12-4 to start, but Boston closed out the quarter on a 30-10 extended run and never looked back.

The Nets fell down by as many as 20 in the second, but a 9-3 run to start the second half chopped the deficit down to five. The Celtics answered with an 8-2 run — 27-15 extended — and brought this thing back up to double digits.

Rodions Kurucs was basically the only reason the Nets barely hung around. He finished with a career-high tying 24 points and nailed a career-high five three-pointers. Spencer Dinwiddie played well in the second half and chipped in 15 off the bench and Kenneth Faried nabbed a double double with 13 points and 12 rebounds, hitting his first three of the season and third of his eight-year career.

Post-game, Kenny Atkinson had faint praise for his rookie, saying he had nabbed only one rebound and one steal. While it was nice he hit all those threes, the Nets need both his rebounding and defensive energy.

Otherwise, the guards struggled. D’Angelo Russell had one of the worst games of his season with six turnovers and 2-of-6 shooting. Shabazz Napier was right next to him with five turnovers. The Nets combined for 23 turnovers to just 19 assists.

... At least the Nets have only one back-to-back in the next seven and a half weeks, at the end of this month, a reverse of this week’s, Boston first, then Chicago. It’s all to be expected, the coach noted.

“This league is unforgiving. We have a tough schedule coming up, a 16-day … road trip after the All-Star break,” Atkinson said. “I have the fear of the NBA schedule. Let’s just continue to take them one at a time and improve.”

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DEPLETED NETS

The Nets played the 10th back-to-back on Monday, so naturally that means guys are either banged up or resting. Here’s the list of guys they missed...

  • DeMarre Carroll (sore left knee)
  • Allen Crabbe (sore right knee)
  • Joe Harris (right ankle sprain)
  • Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (right adductor strain)
  • Caris LeVert (subtalar dislocation, right foot)
  • Dzanan Musa (left shoulder subluxation)

Both Harris and Carroll said they hope to play Wednesday. Here’s how Musa responded when we tweeted we’re hoping to see him soon....

PLAYOFFS!

The Nets entered Monday’s match just .001 percent ahead of the Charlotte Hornets for the seventh seed. They entered 12 game behind the sixth seed. At the end of the night, the Nets were in eighth, a game ahead of the Pistons who are in ninth, a 12 game behind the Hornets, who are in seventh. They’re also a game out of sixth.

CHINA GAMES ... OFFICIAL

DINWIDDIE’S KICKS

For a different perspective, try Celtics Blog, the Celtics fan site on SB Nation.

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Next: The Nets will face the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday at Barclays Center, 7:30 PM.