As has been the case many times this season, the Boston Celtics followed up an exciting win with a disappointing loss.
After earning an important victory over the Indiana Pacers on Friday, the Celtics dropped a 110-96 decision to the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday at Barclays Center.
Pretty much the entire first half was even, with both sides trading blows throughout the first 24 minutes. But a meltdown in the third quarter by the Celtics allowed the Nets to take a commanding lead, which they wouldn’t relinquish the rest of the way.
Gordon Hayward led the Celtics with 19 points. Daniel Theis and Marcus Morris, both of whom scored 16 points, were the only other C’s in double figures.
D’Angelo Russell scored 29 points and was once of five Nets in double figures.
With the loss, the Celtics fall to 45-32, while the Nets climb to 39-38 with the win.
Here’s how it all went down.
PG: Terry Rozier
SG: Marcus Smart
SF: Jayson Tatum
PF: Marcus Morris
C: Aron Baynes
The Celtics were without Kyrie Irving (back) and Al Horford (knee) Saturday night.
CELTICS CLAIM FIRST
Though the Celtics did go on a bit of an offensive dry spell, they led the Nets 21-17 after one quarter.
During the middle stages of the quarter, the C’s missed seven consecutive shots, which allowed the Nets to string together a 7-0 run, ultimately taking a 14-12 lead with 3:38 left. The Celtics responded with a 6-0 run of their own, scoring nine of the frame’s last 12 points.
Jayson Tatum and Marcus Smart each had five points in the opening quarter.
NETS SHOW SOME FIGHT
Boston started hot in the second quarter, but the Nets quickly took over. Brooklyn took a 49-48 lead into the half after outscoring the visitors 32-27 in the frame.
The C’s kicked off the second by scoring seven unanswered over the first 1:29, which upped their lead to 11, the biggest advantage of the game for either side to that point. Brooklyn responded well throughout the quarter though, chipping away until it finally took a 42-41 lead on a Caris LeVert triple with 2:47 left. Until Aron Baynes hit a 3-pointer with 70 seconds left in the half to trim Boston’s deficit to three, the Nets were on a 17-3 run.
DeMarre Carroll led all players with 11 first-half points. Hayward and Brad Wanamaker paced the C’s with eight points apiece in the first two quarters.
D-LO GOES OFF
Russell went scorched earth in the third quarter, guiding the Nets to a 82-70 lead after they outscored the C’s 33-22 in the stanza.
Brooklyn quickly opened its advantage to nine by beginning the third quarter on a 10-2 run, and they didn’t stop there. The Nets spent the first 7:06 of the frame pummeling the Celtics, outscoring them 25-9. In that stretch, Russell was responsible for 18 points.
The Celtics showed a touch of fight in the final moments of the quarter, though they couldn’t trim the lead down to anything closer than 11. Russell finished with 20 third-quarter points.
NETS SEAL DEAL
Things initially looked promising for the Celtics, as they got the deficit to 10 in the first three minutes of the fourth quarter, but the Nets quickly squashed that hope. Brooklyn proceeded to pile points on to get their advantage back up to 16 before C’s head coach Brad Stevens called a timeout with 6:48 left.
That was about as much of a comeback as the Celtics had in them, as they were unable to get back within single digits the rest of the way. Trailing 109-94 with 2:04 left, Stevens effectively waved the white flag by subbing in Robert Williams, Semi Ojeleye and Guerschon Yabusele.
PLAY OF THE GAME
Nice linkup between Hayward and Theis.
The Celtics will return home for a tilt with the Miami Heat on Monday. Tip from TD Garden is set for 7:30 p.m. ET.
Thumbnail photo via Wendell Cruz/USA TODAY Sports Images