BOSTON - The Boston Celtics came into Monday’s matchup with the Brooklyn Nets looking to get back on the right track after losing to the Golden State Warriors on Saturday night. Brooklyn, on the other hand, entered TD Garden on a six-game winning streak that starting back on January 14th against the Celtics. Behind quality nights from Marcus Smart, Al Horford, Aron Baynes, and Jaylen Brown, the Celtics would bring that streak to a close on Monday night.
Boston opened 4/4 from three, pushing them out to a comfortable lead in the early going. Smart’s battle vs the Nets bench continued as he started 3⁄4 from beyond the arc. However the open looks stopped falling and allowed Brooklyn to go on a quick 10-0 run with about four minutes left in the quarter.
Baynes provided a nice early spark off the bench with 7 first-quarter points, which was nice to see him get back into the flow of things after limited minutes on Saturday. He took three of Boston’s 16 three point attempts in the first quarter.
Brooklyn stuck with their zone defense into the second frame, allowing the Celtics to continue pulling up from deep. Other than settling for perimeter jumpers, Boston wasn’t really functioning at a high rate against the 2-3 set up. Smart seemed to be the only Celtic thriving against their defense, as he had 16 points with 6 minutes left in the half.
Gordon Hayward cut his left had and received two stitches midway through the half. He would return to the game with about 4 minutes left in the quarter. Smart was cut above his eye and also received two stitches. He would return to the game.
Boston had 12 blocks in the first half, led by six from Horford. Baynes added two of his own and had four offensive boards, as he took advantage of the Nets’ 2-3 zone.
Turnovers and some sharp shooting from De’Angelo Russell kept Brooklyn in this one. Russell had 23 points after three quarters and the Nets trailed by just one entering the fourth. Boston had 15 turnovers after three, resulting in 20 Brooklyn points.
The Celtics used some solid defense to create an 11-0 run, which stretched their lead to 12 with 7 minutes left. Jaylen Brown helped Boston extend the lead late in the fourth, ultimately finishing with 21 points on 9/16 shooting.
The Celtics return to action on Wednesday when they face off against the Charlotte Hornets at TD Garden.