Kyrie Irving was nowhere near TD Garden to face the Boston faithful, but that didn’t stop them from making that the story of the night. While Kyrie was back home with family and friends on the eve of Thanksgiving, the hometown fans let their feelings be heard.
The Nets, on the other hand, looked to extend their win-streak and change the script of the night. But with Kyrie, Caris LeVert, DeAndre Jordan, Wilson Chandler (and Kevin Durant) all out, they were simply out-matched in a hard-fought battle, 121-110.
Kemba Walker dropped 39 points — 22 coming in the second half where the Celtics absolutely battered the Nets. It was a 64-47 advantage after the Nets led by nine at the half.
Brooklyn depended on its 3-point shooting all night ... for better or worse. They nailed 21 on the night but it took them 56 attempts. Garrett Temple was spectacular throughout the night and kept them alive with the second unit struggling. He finished his night with a season-high 22 points with a career-high six 3-pointers.
Things started getting ugly late in the third and early in the fourth when the second unit came in. Mind you, Brooklyn’s second unit right now is more like their third unit with Irving, Caris LeVert, DeAndre Jordan, Kevin Durant and Wilson Chandler all out. Not to mention this was the Nets third game in four nights, all of them on the road.
But, there are no excuses. Next man up has been the mentality through the winning ways, that shouldn’t change against the 13-4 Celtics.
It was, however, the difference-maker.
It was all tied up at 80 apiece with five minutes left in the third, the Nets failing to execute on their 60-51 halftime lead. They hit just two field goals to close out the quarter — one of which coming from Temple with 1.8 seconds left to stop the bleeding... momentarily.
Suddenly, a nine-point halftime lead was a five-point deficit entering the fourth.
With the crowd getting louder and louder and the Celtics intensifying their defense, Brooklyn’s young second unit struggled. Boston stripped Dzanan Musa and finished in transition on the other end with 7:51 remaining.
The bench handed over a 12-point deficit to the starters. At that point, Dinwiddie and Jarrett Allen had both played just 23 minutes each, while Joe Harris played 20. You can argue that he kept them on the bench too long.
And so, the starters came back in and went on a 9-0 run, capped off yet again by a Temple three-pointer: 104-101, Celtics, 5:28 remaining. Back came Walker, who nailed a three-pointer, followed up by an and-one from Brad Wanamaker, extending Boston’s lead back up to nine with four minutes remaining.
The Nets never got it closer than six from that point on, and the Celtics closed the game out on a 7-2 run behind the lead of Walker.
The Nets were destroyed on the glass — a 55-38 advantage accomplished by committee. Allen was particularly solid yet again for the Nets, finishing with 17 points and 14 rebounds on 6-of-8 shooting. With Jordan out, the rest of the team failed to keep Boston off the offensive glass. In his last three games, Allen has grabbed 45 rebounds.
The Nets are now 9-9 on the season and 5-2 with Kyrie out — 0-2 against teams above .500 during that span. While the wins have been impressive of late, the Nets faced their first major challenge against a tough team on the road in a hostile environment.
The team-ball aspect is certainly there, and one game won’t deter the fact. But let’s make something clear: the Brooklyn Nets are absolutely better with Kyrie Irving on this team. We might be talking about a different script had he played.
They’ll get a second crack at redemption with a matinee affair against the Celtics on Friday. No word on Kyrie’s status just yet.
The story is — and has been tiresome before the season even started.
Prior to the season, the Boston Globe came out with a piece — not predicting, rather telling readers why Kyrie will fail in Brooklyn. And why Kenny Atkinson has two years before he’s fired.
Before the Nets could even play five games, there were pieces of info coming out discussing how Kyrie’s a moody person. The piece only fired up the folks with the pitchforks and torches .. while leaving folks in Brooklyn scratching their heads.
Recently, Stephen A. Smith was on air, with Celtics TV banners around him stating the following: “I am not hearing good things about Kyrie in Brooklyn.” Three weeks before, he was on air saying how he wasn’t buying any of the Kyrie nonsense!. He later said something about his attitude being a problem. Literally.
And that was it! No stories, no examples, so what’s being said?
Here’s an excerpt another piece from November 26, one day prior to the Nets-Celtics reunion without Kyrie.
“One assistant coach said he once rode about 30 or 40 flights on an elevator with Irving — and the guard did not say a single word.”
Let’s make something clear: It is totally fair for fans to like or dislike a player, boo them — act how they want. After all, they’re just passionate fans! However, there’s something to be said about the way this whole Kyrie thing has been covered. It’s a major disservice for the media to jump in and seemingly have an agenda to paint Kyrie as the bad guy. It’s been blatant —and kind of silly— from Day One.
Currently out the front of TD Garden: pic.twitter.com/dVKuCOu0rT— Hayley Byrnes (@HayleyByrnes) November 27, 2019
We’ll give a fair analysis when we’re more than 18 games into the season, but over here IN Brooklyn, there’s been nothing but good things said about Kyrie.
The place he left Boston for.
I really wish Boston wriers would stop writing about Kyrie. Like... Enough guys— JaysonTatUmaThurMannieFresh (@SnottieDrippen) November 27, 2019
After the game, Irving fired back against all the criticism coming his way, via a post to his Instagram story. The comment echoed a lot of what the Nets point guard said at the Nets Media Day back in September.
Kyrie Irving with thoughts on his return to Boston (via kyrieirving/IG) pic.twitter.com/SKSNGaeixs— SNY (@SNYtv) November 28, 2019
How soon will Kyrie be back. Here’s what Sean Marks told ESPN’s Cassidy Hubbarth earlier Wednesday...
“He’s improving well. We watched him workout today. So, he’s getting there. But, again I think we’ll re-evaluate him when we get back from this road trip after Thanksgiving and see where it goes from there.”
That would mean before Friday’s game.
For a very different perspective, head on over to Celtics Blog, our Celtics sister site on SB Nation.
NEW LOOK AT NETS NEW LOCKER ROOM
Shield Lockers, which put together the Nets state-of-the-art locker room, posted a detailed look at the 17-locker facility with new photos and a description of the amenities available.
Next up: Back at home against the Celtics on Friday, 12:00 PM ET.
- Box Score: Boston Celtics 121, Brooklyn Nets 110 - NBA.com
- Recap: Boston Celtics 121, Brooklyn Nets 110 (Video) - NBA.com
- Walker scores 39, Celtics beat Nets 121-110 - Jimmy Golen - AP
- Walker hits 39 as Celtics end Nets’ win streak - Reuters
- Nets get broken after Spencer Dinwiddie takes a break - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- Nets done in by Kyrie Irving’s Celtics replacement, Kemba Walker - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- Even injured and absent, Kyrie Irving isn’t welcome in Boston - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- Kyrie Irving blasts Celtics hate with Instagram manifesto - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- Are the Nets smarter bet without Kyrie Irving? - VSIN - New York Post
- Kemba Walker overwhelms Nets with 39 points as Celtics fans chant ‘Kyrie sucks!’ - Kristian Winfield - New York Daily News
- The Nets need to give David Nwaba his minutes back - Kristian Winfield - New York Daily News
- Kyrie Irving hits back at critics on Instagram after questions about his injury and boos from Celtics fans in Boston - Adrian Covert - New York Daily News
- Nets’ loss in Boston a real crowd-pleaser - Greg Logan - Newsday
- Nets’ Irving not on hand, but Celtics fans ‘welcome’ him home - Greg Logan - Newsday
- Nets must learn to mix Dinwiddie’s ‘D’ with Kyrie’s ‘O’ - Greg Logan - Newsday
- Absent Kyrie Irving taunted in Boston, then speaks out on social media - Malika Andrews - ESPN
- Nets’ Kyrie Irving fires back against Celtics fans’ criticism, calling it ‘ignorant and obtrusive’ - Alex Smith - SNY
- Celtics’ Jaylen Brown says fans shouldn’t boo Nets’ Kyrie Irving - Garrett Stepien - SNY
- WATCH: Celtics fans chant ‘Kyrie sucks!’ during game vs. Nets - Alex Smith - SNY
- With Brooklyn Nets, Kyrie Irving is becoming the leader Boston Celtics needed - Michael Scotto - Bleacher Report
- Assessing the Nets’ depth issues,which were exposed in Boston, and possible solutions - Alex Schiffer - The Athletic New York
- The Kemba Walker-Kyrie Irving contrast is painfully clear in Boston: First Thoughts from Nets-Celtics - Joe Vardon - The Athletic NBA
- CELTICS 121, NETS 110: BROOKLYN’S WINNING STREAK HALTED IN BOSTON - Tom Dowd - Brooklyn Nets
- GALLERY: NETS VS. CELTICS - Brooklyn Nets
- Kyrie Irving’s homecoming was a bust, but Kemba Walker’s wasn’t - Adam Himmelsbach - Boston Globe
- After Celtics beat Nets, Kyrie Irving takes to social media to answer critics - Christopher Price - Boston Globe
- Kemba Walker returns with 39 points, Celtics beat Brooklyn 121-110 - Mark Murphy - Boston Herald
- Kyrie Irving responds to boos with an Instagram rant - Mark Murphy - Boston Herald