On paper, a single-digit win over the third-worst team in the NBA isn’t cause for celebration. After what transpired Saturday, though, Monday’s result was just what the doctor ordered for the Boston Celtics.
The Celtics came out of the gate hot at the Barclays Center and didn’t look back, exacting revenge on the Brooklyn Nets in a 103-94 win. Yet the most positive development was how Boston earned the victory.
After looking lethargic and gun-shy in back-to-back losses to the Los Angeles Lakers and Nets, the Celtics found their swagger again, recording 10 steals in an aggressive defensive effort and picking up the pace to the tune of 92 shot attempts on offense. The C’s also racked up 16 fast break points and seemed to enjoy doing it, as this Isaiah Thomas celebration can attest:
“(I was) just trying to give my team some energy,” Thomas said after the win, via CLNS Radio. “Trying to do whatever it takes to get my guys going and to be in the right mindset.”
Marcus Smart certainly had his head on straight, as he fired up his teammates in the third quarter with this incredible hustle play:
Thomas and Smart played well, sure, but the catalyst for Boston’s energized effort was Jae Crowder.
The Celtics forward scored a career-high 25 points while adding six rebounds and three steals. With his team slipping a bit during a late Nets comeback, Crowder buried Brooklyn with a 3-pointer and an and-one layup two possessions later.
“They made a run late, and we just wanted to get a win,” Crowder said of his late-game intensity, via CLNS Radio. “Emotions took over at that point.”
The NBA season is 82 games long, and the Celtics can’t rely on emotion and energy to win them every game, especially against teams that aren’t the Nets. But with Avery Bradley sidelined due to a hip injury and a two-game losing streak weighing them down, the C’s were able to flip the switch and spark a much-needed victory.
Thumbnail photo via Anthony Gruppuso/USA TODAY Sports Images
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