A masked Kyrie Irving led the way with a game high 25 points; both Al Horford and Marcus Morris finished with double-doubles; and all five starters finished with double figures in points. The Celtics slowed the NBA’s fastest paced offense just enough to leave Brooklyn with the win tonight – now their 13th (THIRTEENTH!) in a row. Final Score: 109-102
The Game Flow
It was a pretty start for the Celtics when Jayson Tatum freed himself from his defender and drilled an open 3 to begin the game. This fueled Tatum’s confidence and led to a Q1 offensive onslaught from the rookie. He only took 4 shots, but he made all of them; including another beautiful shot from deep in which he pump faked his defender off of the court, took the extra dribble, side-stepped, and nailed the attempt. The Celtics followed Tatum’s lead in Q1 and finished having shot 60% from deep with a 30-21 lead going into the second quarter. The rookie finished with an impressive 19 points on 6 of 9 shooting from the field for the night.
It definitely wasn’t as pretty during Q2. In fact, it got pretty damn ugly there for 4 minutes where the Cs went scoreless. At this point they were only halfway through Q2, but the Celtics already had 7 turnovers that resulted in a bevy of give-away points. The Nets, meanwhile, managed to string these together for a 14-0 run and had temporarily stolen the lead away from Boston. Kyrie was getting frustrated with his mask and even went to take it off after failing to complete a layup plus the foul towards the end of the quarter. Fortunately for the Celtics, he put the mask back on, made both of his free throws, and played with a more intense energy for the final 3 minutes of Q2. He only made 4 of 11 attempts through the first two quarters, but still tallied a game high 14 points by half. The Celtics and Nets found themselves tied at 52 heading into the locker room.
The Celtics offense needed a shot in the arm – their 7 assists in the first half simply wasn’t going to cut it – but first they’d need to hold on to the ball. Within the first 5 minutes of Q3 Boston had already turned the ball over 5 times and Brad Stevens was forced into an early timeout to regroup his team. Luckily, anything-but-average Al Horford was now ready to takeover.
He had his fingerprints all over the Celtics resurgence in Q3, as he did everything from scooping up offensive rebounds, to drilling 3’s, and setting those picture perfect screens. Horford scored 9 of his 17 points during Q3 and finished 8 of 10 from the field to go along with his 11 rebounds on the night. The Celtics were now leading 80-71 after three quarters, but the Nets weren’t ready to quit yet.
A couple of quick 3’s from Joe Harris brought Brooklyn within a point of tying the game early along in Q4, but Boston responded in kind. Marcus Morris checked in and immediately went iso-Mo’ on them with consecutive plays ending in jumpers from the elbow (posted in the Highlights below). Morris scored 11 of his 21 total points in tonight’s final frame and led Boston on an insurmountable 13-2 run with just about 5 minutes left in Q4. He also joined Al Horford in the double-double category by grabbing 10 rebounds in his spot start.
Kyrie Irving became more involved towards the end of the game, too, and is responsible for what I’m calling the play that sealed the deal. The Nets were only down 6 when Rondae Hollis-Jefferson missed an attempted layup with just about a minute to play. Teammate Trevor Booker cleaned up the glass and looked to find an open man for some second chance points. Instead, Kyrie stripped Booker, then ran a fast break that resulted in an alley-oop from Brown to Tatum. Celtics fans just had to wait out another minute before celebrating their team’s 13th victory in a row.
The Hot and The Not
Hot: Al Horford is on FIRE. You’ve seen the stats for his night by now, I’m sure – 17 points on 8 of 10 shooting, with 11 rebounds and 3 assists – but check this: Horford has now made 16 of his last 19 shots overall … and has shot over 50% from deep over his last 93 attempts. I had to rewind the tape to make sure I heard Gorman correctly when he said that. To say Horford is in a zone right now would be an understatement.
Not: The Bench. Marcus Smart finished 1 of 8 from the field (6 points), missed a lot of easy baskets over the course of the game, but was arguably the most effective bench player for the Celtics Tuesday night. The bench only managed to make 4 shots through out the course of the game and Boston was forced to rely heavily on their starters for all four quarters (96 of 109 total points were scored by the starting five). The bench will have to bounce back if the Celtics hope to beat the Warriors on Thursday.
What the Hell Just Happened?!
An Arthur post by NBC Sports Boston got turned into another reason Boston is a racist city…. wait – what?!
Obviously this bothered a lot of people around here and generated a lot of buzz on social media, but folks… I’m going to tell you a piece of advice the philosopher Shawn Carter shared with me many moons ago:
“A wise man told me don’t argue with fools. Cause people from a distance can’t tell who is who”
Back to the game!
Easily the most talked about play of the night – Jaylen’s windmill:
Marcus Morris clutch gene = SKRONG:
Jaylen with a beautiful spin-move, for good measure: