Heading into this game, I knew the Cs needed a break after a rough 3-game losing streak and the overtime game against the Lakers.
I also knew that this Celtics team struggled in ball games whenever they would have 2 or more breaks as they would come out lifeless in those situations.
Well, how’s a 43-point blowout over the Nets sound?
Let’s get to it.
At 11:14 in the first quarter, DWhite gets JB the ball as he posts up Harris near the low block. As it is obviously a mismatch, JB takes advantage of this match-up to make a quick spin against Harris, Claxton comes in for the rim protection and goes up in anticipation of a shot. This then allows JB to make a nice pass to Rob as he flies into the cup with no resistance found at the rim.
I love plays wherein either one of the Jays is able to draw the attention of more than one defender as they make their move, resulting in great offensive possession with different options at their disposal as both players are willing to make the extra pass.
From that possession onward, it was all Celtics as the home team kept cooking and never looked back.
At 9:06 in the first, Tatum makes a sick crossover to beat Harris off the dribble, sidesteps over O’neale, and makes a sweet finish at the rim. Enter Jaylen Brown at 8:43, as he dribbles the ball behind his back and sidesteps to a deep three-ball over Irving to push the lead to 11 as Brooklyn calls timeout. It was bedlam in that arena as you saw the Jays leading the charge, and everyone following suit.
DWhite said it perfectly after the game, "Get the ball to Jasyon and Jaylen and move out the way".
Jayson Tatum - 31 points on 63.2% shooting from the field and 58.3% from deep, 9 rebounds, 4 assists, along with 2 steals, and 1 block. JT was also a +46 on the court which is incredible and even having all of his points on the field as he didn’t attempt a single free throw in this ball game. He was very much locked in for this one.
Jaylen Brown - 26 points on 50% shooting from the field and 58.3% from deep, grabbed 3 boards and dished out 3 assists. Similar to JT’s outing, JB made it look easy against the Nets as he looked like he wasn’t even trying as the shots kept falling down. Brown was a +35 on the court.
As the Jays lead the charge, here comes the rest of the squad matching their energy.
At 8:22, DWhite grabbed the defensive board off the Curry miss, pushes the ball, and takes it to coast to coast as he put on the afterburners for the two-handed flush. That got me hyped not going to lie as an aggressive DWhite will always make this team even more dangerous.
With the Jays looking electric together as ever, I didn’t even notice that White had himself a sneaky double-double performance as he played with great pace and in constant attack mode whether through scoring or setting up teammates for good looks.
Derrick White - 14 points on 54.5% shooting from the field, 10 total rebounds, and 5 assists with no turnovers. Just an overall complete game for DWhite as he continues to start in the place of Smart ‘til he comes back, with White making an impact at both ends of the floor.
Even though I wanted a block from him as he always gets at least 1 in each game, he was still great with his defense. Whether through making the right read in being ready at the rim when an opponent gets by a defender off the dribble to deny an open lane to the basket or even denying easy looks with his sharp contests and on-ball defense.
A player that didn’t go under the radar for this game was Timelord himself. After some chatter on Twitter about how Nic Claxton was better than Rob, I guess you could say Rob reminded everyone about what he was about.
Robert Williams III - 16 points on 87.5% shooting from the field and a perfect 2/2 from the charity stripe, had 9 rebounds, and 1 block. Rob was a +22 on the court.
His block was sweet as he was on O’Neale at 7:32 coming off a switch from DWhite. O’Neale makes a quick move off the dribble, Rob stays on him the whole drive and easily swats his shot away resulting in a turnover for the Nets.
On offense, you had the usual lobs to Rob and his patent offensive rebounding to extend plays with him either putting the ball back in or making the extra pass to provide extra possessions for the team.
But Rob did make a nice turnaround shot at 9:32 in the third, as he finds himself at a mismatch with O’Neale guarding him at the post. One of my wishes for Rob’s continuing improvement in his overall offensive game is to have a consistently reliable shot under the rim just to have more versatility and options for the team to take advantage of.
When it came to offense, look no further at the final score itself: 139-96.
The Boston Celtics shot at an efficient 57.6% from the field and an incredible 48.1% with their three balls as they made a total of 26 three-pointers from deep. The ball was popping quickly left and right as quality looks were generated as everything felt sharp and precise. Also having the Jays combine for a total of 57 points just makes the overall experience sweeter.
Just look and admire their shot chart for a minute:
Shot Chart from NBA.com
The standout from this graphic would be how the Celtics found a great balance in their shot selections from three-point range and shotmaking under the basket.
The team had a total of 28 assists for the game wherein at 9:07 in the third, you see how the team knows just what to do with the ball once in possession and goes into making quick decisions in the process. Tatum brings the ball up the court, realizes the double is coming off the screen from Rob and makes the pass to DWhite at the corner triple spot. Similar to the play JB made with the pass to Rob in the fist off a spin move, DWhite finds himself an open lane to the perimeter as Tatum drew two Nets defenders, and because of the Cs’ great spacing, JB is open at the corner spot in the weak side. Curry realizes this too late and goes in for the contest, but JB immediately adjusts before the defensive stance is made and moves to his right to open an easy entry pass from White off the dribble. Easy knockdown corner triple.
Besides the offense, the defense was no slouch as they only allowed the Nets to shoot 40.9% from the field with 23.1% shooting from deep.
One of the things I noticed with how Brookly struggled in shooting the ball was how they weren’t able to find a way to carve the perimeter defense off dribble penetration or even generate open looks as the Cs' switch and rotation defense was on point from the jump.
It was also another great outing for the defense in making things difficult for Irving as he was limited to 20 points for the game. Yes, he shot 50% from the field but was horrific from deep at 14.3% shooting, along with how they denied him any open lanes to the basket as he was forced to make tough contested jumpers.
Al guarding him on some possessions in the first quarter was a standout as he moved his feet perfectly to give him enough space to force Kyrie into a tough shot and deny the drive option. Just look at how Al moves his feet at 8:53 with Irving thinking he can take him easily with his handles and settles for a long jumper that results in a bad offensive possession.
Another standout defensive possession for this ball club was at 4:46 in the second quarter. Curry dumps the ball to Harris who has Tatum on him, gets a screen from Sharpe, and finds himself being switched on with Horford now being his defender. Tatum denies the pass to Sharpe going to the basket, which makes Harris settle in giving the ball back to Curry who is still outside the perimeter area. He makes a drive on White and decides to go with a stepback move at the foul line, but is denied completion of this move as DWhite is all over him. Gives up the ball and passes it to Harris that gets picked up by Grant and forces him to dribble out of the perimeter with the shot clock now at 3 seconds. He gets the ball to Irving, who has remained outside the perimeter this whole time ball-watching, gets to his spot but gets switched with Grant over Brown and forces a tough stepback jumper that gets blocked by Grant. What a sequence from the Cs.
My two cents? That was fun to watch. After 3 days of rest, it was just what the C’s needed, especially in Marcus Smart’s absence on the court.
I also loved how they came out with tons of energy with their main stars leading the way, and especially how the team didn’t play down to their competition and provided the necessary beatdown.