The Boston Celtics gave their fans one more win to celebrate in 2017 after beating the Brooklyn Nets 108-105 on Sunday night at TD Garden.
Kyrie Irving clinched the win with two late free throws, giving him a team-high 28 points. Marcus Morris (15 points), Terry Rozier (14), Jaylen Brown (13) and Al Horford (10) all scored in double-digits as part of a total team effort by Boston.
The victory improves the Celtics’ record to 30-10, while the Nets fall to 13-23.
Here’s how it all went down.
PG: Kyrie Irving
SG: Jaylen Brown
SF: Jayson Tatum
PF: Al Horford
C: Aron Baynes
The Celtics got off to a great start, forcing the Nets to take an early timeout with Boston up 16-5 five minutes in. Boston was able to attack the paint at will due to Brooklyn’s lack of a real shot-blocking presence, but it was the Celtics’ shooting that propelled them to a large lead.
The C’s led 38-28 after 12 minutes thanks to 69 percent shooting, including a 5-of-8 mark from beyond the arc. Irving, Brown, and Morris paced the home team with seven points apiece. Morris and Marcus Smart provided a lift off the bench with 13 points combined.
NETS’ BENCH FIGHT BACK
The Celtics stretched their lead to 13 early in the second quarter with a 3-pointer by Rozier. However, the Nets clawed back and trimmed the lead to 43-39 with just over five minutes left in the quarter. Brooklyn’s bench, led by Caris LeVert and Joe Harris (18 first-half points combined), spearheaded the 9-0 run. The Nets kept attacking and eventually got to within 47-46. But despite the red-hot Nets bench shooting 10-of-16 from the field, the Celtics led 57-51 after an Irving 3-pointer with three minutes left to play. Boston was able to hang on to a 61-59 advantage at the half.
Irving paced the C’s with 17 points on 7-of-10 shooting, and he connected on three of his five 3-point attempts. Rozier added 10 points on 4-of-6 shooting off the bench. He and Irving were the only double-digit scorers for Boston over the first 24 minutes. The C’s shot 63.6 percent, too.
LeVert led all Nets scorers with 12 points. He helped Brooklyn earn a 32-29 edge in bench scoring during the first half.
EXTENDING THE LEAD
The Nets played tough to begin the third quarter and managed to tie the score twice, but the Celtics built up another double-digit lead during a spurt that included a 9-1 run. The C’s bench helped maintain the lead entering the fourth. Irving continued to pace the Celtics in scoring with 21 points through three quarters.
THE FINAL BLOW
Tatum’s 3-pointer with 9:35 left in regulation appeared to end the Nets’ chances by pushing the Celtics’ lead to 91-80.
The Nets got within six midway through the quarter, but an Irving 3-pointer swelled Boston’s lead to 101-91. The Celtics’ defense, highlighted by eight blocked shots and seven steals, kept the Nets at bay for most of the quarter before Brooklyn trimmed Boston’s edge to 105-100 with 1:07 left to play. Quincy Acy pulled the Nets within 105-103 after hitting a 3-point shot, but the C’s hit 3-of-4 free throws over the final 15.3 seconds to seal the win.
HIGHLIGHT OF THE NIGHT
Tatum’s length is a real asset.
The Celtics have a few days off before welcoming LeBron James, Isaiah Thomas and the Cleveland Cavaliers to TD Garden on Wednesday. Tip-off is scheduled for 8 p.m. ET.
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