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D’Angelo Russell drops 29, leads Nets to huge victory over Celtics, 110-96

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NBA: Boston Celtics at Brooklyn Nets Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

BROOKLYN, N.Y. — There’s no place like home, no place like Brooklyn.

Following the seven-game, 17-day road trip, the Brooklyn Nets took down the Boston Celtics, 110-96, Saturday evening at Barclays Center. The Celtics played without Kyrie Irving and Al Horford, and are currently 11-3 when Irving sits out — two losses coming against the Nets at Barclays.

The Nets, at 39-38, are 31-20 since December 7; the Celtics 31-22. The 39 wins —with five to play— are the most a Nets team has won since 2013-14 when the Kevin Garnett-Paul Pierce team finished with 44 wins.

Brooklyn remains the seventh seed. The Pistons, Heat and Magic all won.

As for the first half... It was dull, not stellar. They looked exhausted. And no, I’m not talking about the Celtics, who played the second night of a back-to-back. I’m talking about the Nets, who scored just 17 points in the first quarter and led by one at half.

But then, All-Star D’Angelo Russell arrived. Russell propelled the Nets on a 24-12 extended run, scoring 20 points on 8-of-12 shooting in the third quarter. Russell had the Nets up 17 by time Kenny Atkinson subbed him out — 12 entering the fourth.

Russell had just four points on 2-of-9 shooting in the first half. He hit 8 of his 12 shots attempted and had 24 points and seven assists entering the fourth. The Nets outscored the Celtics 33-22 in the third behind DLo’s lead.

Boston brought it within 10, but a Caris LeVert slam capped off a mini 12-6 run which brought them up 16. LeVert continued his stellar play with 15 points.

“There’s two halves in the game,” said Russell afterwards. “The first half was a little suspect, the turnovers, the shot selection. I just knew I had to tighten up. We’re the team if somebody sets an example, we’re gonna follow. DeMarre Carroll was solid for us, kept us solid, then I just wanted to take it over in the third.”

Russell finished the night with a game-high 29 points and 10 assists. He’s finished with 20+ points and 10+ assists 11 times this season. His first three seasons? two.

“When we get stops and we get out running we’re a fun team. J (Jarrett Allen) coming over blocking shots, guards being back and getting a good box out, then we’re rebounding and running. We’re an exciting team,” Russell explained.

And after his second 20+ point quarter in the last five games, DLo once again let it be known that the doubters and haters have had their day and it is over.

“Everybody was wrong obviously,” Russell said discussing what people think of him. “Everybody was wrong about me, so I don’t have to say anything.”

The Nets held Boston to 42 percent shooting. They also kept most of their guys in check, as only three players finished in double figures, led by Gordon Hayward (19 points). Otherwise, the Nets shot 46 percent and won the battle on the boards.

There’s no place like home. There’s no place like Brooklyn. They’re a win or two away from bringing the playoffs back to the borough for the first time since 2014-2015.

“We’re in it. We can’t shy away from it. They’re all playoff games, but it was important to get this one,” said Kenny Atkinson.

Post-game audio here.

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ANOTHER DLO MILESTONE

Russell’s four three-pointers Saturday gave him at least one in 56 straight games, passing James Harden and Paul George for the longest streak in the NBA this season.

And Russell got an MIP endorsement from one of his biggest fans, French World Cup champion Antoine Griezmann.

PLAYOFF RACE

All you needed to know is that the Nets are in seventh, with one game separating them and the ninth-seed. Still.

THE WALL

“BLEACHER REPORT KINGS”

Brooklyn’s newest nickname for the bench!

Yes, we do, Jared.

And Theo, of course.

S/O TO MITCH CREEK

With the Minnesota Timberwolves severely undermanned, they called up Long Island Nets star Mitch Creek to a 10-day deal. Creek and the LI Nets are in the middle of the playoffs, so the timing isn’t the best. But... an opportunity in the NBA is much more important for the Aussie.

TEAM PHOTO

For a different perspective, head on over to Celtics Blog, our sister site on SB Nation.

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The Nets will face the Milwaukee Bucks in Brooklyn on Monday, 7:30 p.m.