BROOKLYN — The Celtics and Nets entered an vital tiebreaker sport making an attempt to mildly reinvent themselves with Jaylen Brown and Kevin Durant going through quick and long-term accidents. The Celtics’ method would not change a lot, solely involving deeper rotations to Payton Pritchard and small-ball lineups. Jacque Vaughn imagined bigger adjustments for his Nets, alterations to their defensive scheme and placing Ben Simmons at the level of assault.
Boston’s spacing and passing persevered, and the Celtics scored a formidable 109-98 win over a crew that took the paint away, pressured troublesome reads and peppered the Celtics with transition runouts. The Celtics tightened up after halftime and held the Nets to 38% capturing via the buzzer, together with a 9-for-24 evening from Kyrie Irving.
“Our half courtroom protection was nice the whole evening,” Joe Mazzulla mentioned. “We talked quite a bit about, towards this crew, the sport’s linked. The protection begins with managing your offense, due to how effectively they guard. They get out in transition and create cross matches with Simmons, and so I felt like our half courtroom offense was nice for the majority of the sport, and in the fourth quarter, we managed the sport offensively, we bought nice seems, we had good spacing and it stored them out of transition for the majority of the time.”
Brooklyn noticed early returns breaking out to a 19-14 lead. Simmons performed the again line defensively, enjoying away from Robert Williams III and Luke Kornet whereas Al Horford sat. He tipped an early Marcus Smart go try and compelled a clumsy Williams III kick-out on some extent clean look. Derrick White, Kornet and Williams III scored all of the Celtics’ factors halfway via the quarter whereas Brooklyn’s measurement took the paint away.
Smart and Tatum nonetheless managed to generate a number of with out getting their very own pictures off to maintain the sport shut. Smart served eight assists in the first half, getting Kornet a 3 and main Grant Williams downhill for a pair of baskets to maintain tempo with a sprinting Nets offense. Grant left the courtroom fired up after Tatum’s three tied the sport at 23, and Mazzulla calmed him down as the Celtics stayed composed anticipating numerous Nets runs. They wanted to keep away from complaining, too, after a number of troublesome calls annoyed them.
“I believed simply touching the paint and kicking the ball out (opened the paint),” Brogdon informed CLNS Media/CelticsWeblog submit sport “Getting them to unfold out a little bit extra, so at the finish of the shot clock, we had been capable of get layups, dunks and even open threes.”
Simmons opened up the Net’s flooring sport by discovering Yuta Watanabe operating for 2 factors and faked a set earlier than making a fast outlet go to Joe Harris for 3. Brooklyn led, 31-29, into the second quarter, the place Boston’s bench wanted to outlive with out Tatum.
Sam Hauser, Payton Pritchard checked in with Malcolm Brogdon to run small ball they usually held the line, staying behind by two factors after an 8-0 run from White, Hauser and Pritchard after the Celtics swung a collection of passes to seek out him for 3 in the nook. Tatum returned reverse of Simmons, who prevented him from reaching the basket after discovering a change on Seth Curry. Simmons blocked Brogdon, who really tried to assault and despatched Warren out on the run for a transition bucket for a 50-44 lead.
“The method they play, they’re very collectively, defensively and offensively,” Simmons mentioned. “I do not suppose it is, they’ve some nice people, however if you put it collectively, they play crew basketball. They know their roles, they play crew basketball, they’re very constant.”
The Celtics largely held Irving in examine, although, who pressed to get his shot off regardless of Vaughn not wanting so as to add extra on his plate than normal. Warren relieved the burden with 20 factors, however stopped the ball, whereas Simmons stored it transferring. He did not rating in 26 minutes. Tatum — who shot 7-for-22 — completed the first half catching a full-court bounce go from Smart, pulling up for 2 over Watanabe and forcing a three-point foul on Warren shortly earlier than the buzzer. He admitted to a number of hand accidents bothering him. The Celtics scrapped to a 60-57 lead at halftime.
Smart stored the ball bouncing round the half courtroom to take care of a slender lead into the second half. Tatum caught and completed a 3 whereas one other make by White bought canceled out, however Smart’s exercise drew an emphatic excessive 5 from Boston’s star.
He chased offensive rebounds, however the Nets took benefit of that new layer to the Celtics offense by discovering Claxton and Harris for transition buckets to seize a lead halfway via the third. Watanabe and Irving hit threes, whereas Claxton floated in the lane to dam Tatum after he beat Watanabe off the dribble.
The bench had one other increase in it between quarters although. Brogdon scored 5 straight factors on bounce pictures to reestablish Boston’s lead. Grant hit 4 straight free throws and blocked an Irving jumper. Smart, serving to Pritchard on the baseline guarding Warren, pressured a miss and Pritchard ran out for a layup earlier than the Celtics escaped one other quarter with a lead.
Brogdon and Pritchard prolonged that result in eight early in the fourth, Brogdon with a pair of layups and Pritchard by slicing dribbles into the lane and pulling up for 2 pictures that despatched the Celtics’ bench throughout half courtroom into timeout.
“(Pritchard) is so skilled and he does all the proper issues to remain prepared when his quantity’s referred to as, he will get in there and does what he is imagined to do,” Smart mentioned. “Payton is a really skilled man, he comes in on daily basis and works like he is a rookie. When you’ve got bought a man like that, his time’s gonna come … I’m continually speaking to Payton on daily basis, and as dangerous as it might sound, it is the fact and actuality, and we have got to reside in the actuality that, you are not enjoying on this crew, you are not getting the moments you need and also you suppose you deserve, which you do, as a result of we’re so stacked, however there’s 29 different groups watching. They perceive your scenario. They need to see the way you deal with this.”
Simmons, rolling with a lane to the rim off Irving, threw a go off of Claxton earlier than lacking one other layup on the subsequent possession to complete 0-for-3. Smart discovered Kornet on an alley-oop for a reverse end that pushed Boston’s result in double digits, and Tatum prolonged the result in 13 factors with an and-one end via Tatum. Williams III completed with 29 minutes, stretching to a different benchmark since his return to shut the win.
The Celtics now transfer on to Charlotte for a two-game mini collection the place they will possible stay with out Brown.