The Boston Celtics went on a 28-8 run late in the fourth to try to come back and win, but the Brooklyn Nets came up with the 109-102 win. Boston was without both Marcus Smart (illness) and Kyrie Irving (right quad). Jayson Tatum led the way with a career-high 34 points and 5 rebounds while Jaylen Brown pitched in with 22 points on 50% shooting. For the Nets, D’Angelo Russell put up an unbelievable 34 points and 7 assists after setting the third quarter on fire.
The Nets dropped 44 points in the 3rd quarter (18 from Russell), and that was the game. D’Angelo Russell played like the Celtics kicked his puppy, and no one could stop him. The Celtics fell apart and the Nets came together. The lone bright spot was this highlight from Terry Rozier who came alive for a brief moment:
Terry Rozier and Jaylen Brown got the start tonight, though only the latter took advantage of the opportunity (relatively). Rozier was responsible what most likely was a record-setting “Mad Brad” timeout just 29 seconds into the game after a turnover and defensive lapse that led to a Russell triple in the corner.
Rozier finished the game with 7 points on 25% shooting along with 5 assists and 3 turnovers over 25 minutes.
Boston’s best contributor was Jayson Tatum who played well from the start. He finished as a -13 which won’t really tell the full story. He was instrumental in that late run to make the game interesting as he finally picked up his first 30-point game. Tatum posted 34 points on 63% shooting while not settling for jumpshots and seeking contact all night.
Boston’s defense was a dumpster fire.
Brad Wanamaker made a strong case for jumping into the rotation. He put up 13 points and was a big part of the second unit staying close to the Nets in the first half. Wanamaker, Tatum and Brown all worked together to make it a game in the fourth quarter behind some aggressive plays from Brown, smart playmaking from Wanamaker and timely shots from Jayson Tatum.
The Celtics were down by as much as 27 points but cut the lead to 7. The Nets really tried to give this one up. I mean, they really tried to choke this one away. They didn’t score a field goal for the final 9 minutes of the fourth quarter. They made just enough freethrows to seal the win.
The Wanamaker-Brown-Tatum-Yabusele-Theis lineup was the one that went on that massive run to make it interesting in the final frame. It was encouraging to see after a lackadaisical effort to start the game.
Boston now falls to 25-18 with the first-seeded Toronto Raptors coming up next on the schedule. Kyrie Irving will be back from his right quad injury to play, and Marcus Smart likely will be back as well. Maybe Aron Baynes will be able to return from his hand injury as well. While the fourth quarter effort was endearing and encouraging, the Celtics are going to need all the help they can get for a full 48-minute effort.
64-18 is still in play, I guess.