BOSTON — The Celtics had just completed a difficult three-game stretch against Western Conference opponents, so did Friday’s contest against the lowly Brooklyn Nets represent a trap game?
In short: No.
The C’s took care of business at TD Garden, pouring in 66 points in the first half to coast to a 120-95 blowout win over the holder of one of Boston’s 2016 first-round draft picks.
Jae Crowder had his best offensive game of the season, tallying 19 points on 8 of 12 shooting. Avery Bradley poured in a game-high 21 points off the bench, while Isaiah Thomas (18 points, nine assists), Evan Turner (12) and David Lee (11) reached double figures, as well.
The Celtics shot an impressive 58.6 percent (51 for 87) from the field to drop Brooklyn to 2-11.
Isaiah Thomas, Marcus Smart, Jae Crowder, Jared Sullinger, Amir Johnson
Jae Crowder, scoring machine?
The swingman’s calling card is his ferocious defense, but Crowder came out of the gate hot on the other end of the floor, hitting 5 of 7 shots for 11 points in the first quarter. Two of those points came courtesy of a kind gesture by Thomas:
Of course, Crowder also brought it on defense, tallying three steals to improve upon his NBA-leading average of 2.8 steals per game.
OFFENSE IS THE BEST OFFENSE
The Celtics caught absolute fire in the second quarter.
Boston poured in 43 points in the frame — reportedly their highest total in the second quarter of a game since 1984. The C’s missed just three shots in the quarter (18 of 21), with Crowder, Thomas, Lee and Bradley combining to go a ridiculous 16 for 16.
Thomas made his shots count, as well, hitting all four of his 3-point attempts to help Boston open up a 20-point lead.
Brooklyn’s lack of depth was on full display in the first half.
The Nets’ starters kept things close in the opening minutes, but their second unit couldn’t hold a candle to the Celtics’ strong group of reserves. Boston’s bench outscored Brooklyn’s 25-13 in the first half alone, with David Lee (11) and Avery Bradley (10) in double figures by halftime.
Lee had an encouraging night, hitting all five of his shots and turning back the clock in the first half with this emphatic slam:
PLAY OF THE NIGHT
Since draft picks are the hot topic with Brooklyn in town, let’s check in on how 2015 second-rounder Jordan Mickey is doing with Boston’s D-League affiliate, the Maine Red Claws:
Celtics vs. Nets, Round 2. The C’s will travel to Brooklyn on Sunday to take on the Nets at 6 p.m. ET in their second game of a home-and-home series.
Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images
Thumbnail photo via Boston Celtics forward Jae Crowder (99) reacts after his basket against the Brooklyn Nets during the second quarter at TD Garden.