Well, this certainly wasn’t the way the Celtics wanted to enter the regular season.
The Brooklyn Nets earned a dominant 113-89 victory over Boston in Friday’s preseason finale at TD Garden.
Kyrie Irving was solid in his first game at TD Garden since leaving the Celtics in July 2019 with 17 points, seven rebounds and five assists.
Kevin Durant looked even better with a game-high 25 points on 56.3% shooting. He recorded six rebounds and three blocks, as well.
The Celtics, meanwhile, weren’t quite as successful. Jayson Tatum led the team with 19 points despite shooting just 29.4% from the field. Jaylen Brown was close behind with 16.
Boston finished the preseason 0-2 while Brooklyn went 2-0.
Here’s how it all went down:
PG: Marcus Smart
SG: Javonte Green
SF: Jaylen Brown
PF: Jayson Tatum
C: Daniel Theis
SLOW START FOR BOSTON
The Nets wasted no time taking control of this one. Irving and Durant looked solid early, combining for 11 points on 50% shooting.
Not much went the Celtics’ way to start the first. Smart went 1-for-6 from beyond the arc, while Tatum went 1-for-4. Theis and Robert Williams, meanwhile, recorded two fouls apiece.
Brown perhaps was one of the team’s only bright spots with six points on 3-of-6 shooting.
At one point, Brooklyn had itself an 18-point lead thanks to a strong team effort. Boston tried to chip away at it, but the Nets still managed to end the quarter up 35-23.
The C’s shot just under 40%.
YES, IT GOT WORSE
Believe it or not, things got uglier for the Celtics in the second.
The Nets took advantage of Boston on both sides of the ball, building a 21-point lead early in the quarter. The C’s simply could not close the gap as they struggled to contain Brooklyn’s biggest stars.
Durant led the charge once again and finished the half with 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting.
Boston didn’t have many good looks in this quarter, either.
Tatum led all scorers with 15 points at the half, but had six completed free throws to thank for that. He went 4-for-12 otherwise and sank just one of his six 3-point attempts.
Brown didn’t do much better after a solid first quarter, ending the half with just eight points on 36.4% shooting. Theis, Williams and Payton Pritchard, on the other hand, racked up three fouls apiece.
The C’s trailed the Nets 62-44 at halftime.
It was much of the same in the third.
On paper, the Celtics’ defense didn’t look half bad with nine steals and four blocks through three. But Durant and Co. managed to find ways around it, extending their lead to 32 late in the quarter.
Boston’s offense continued to struggle with shooting hovering around 36% throughout the third. Tatum remained the team’s top scorer despite shooting just 29.4%, though Brown did find a brief burst early in the quarter by sinking the first three shots he took.
The Nets remained in sync on both ends of the court, shutting down just about everything the C’s threw at them as Boston filtered in its reserves.
So, Brooklyn took a 92-60 lead into the final frame.
At this point, we probably sound like a broken record. But the Nets’ dominance continued right through the fourth quarter.
With both teams’ stars out for the remainder of the game, the young guns got a chance to show their stuff. Aaron Nesmith and Tremont Waters got some good looks on both ends and collected seven points each in the fourth.
In the end, Boston simply couldn’t overcome the double-figure advantage Brooklyn built early in the game. The Nets walked away with a 113-89 victory as both teams’ preseasons came to an end.
PLAY OF THE GAME
Now THIS is the KD we missed.
The Celtics’ regular season schedule begins Wednesday against the Milwaukee Bucks. Tip-off from TD Garden is slated for 7:30 p.m. ET.