By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
Preseason or not, Celtics guard Marcus Smart knew that the C’s were going to have their hands full with Friday’s visit from Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, and the rest of the Brooklyn Nets.
But there’s no way he thought he thought it was going to be as bad as it was by the night’s end, as the Celtics were absolutely walloped to a 113-89 loss on the TD Garden parquet.
“We got outplayed,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said after the loss. “They outplayed us in every which way.”
Off to a strong start, scoring five of the game’s six points on a Jaylen Brown make and Smart three, it didn’t long for the Celtics’ game to fly right out the window thanks to some straight-up terrible shooting.
Finishing the first quarter down 12 points, the Celtics’ struggles were highlighted by makes on just nine of their first 23 shots of the night, and with makes on just two of their 14 heaves from three-point range (including 10 total combined misses from Brown, Smart, and Jayson Tatum).
It somehow got worse, too.
Down by 18 at halftime, Boston’s field goal percentage sank down to 36.2 percent through 24 minutes, while their three-point percentage sat at an almost impossibly low 13.6 percent behind a 3-for-22 half from deep.
The shooting struggles of Brown and Tatum continued, too, as the duo combined for 23 points on 8-for-23 shooting, and with just one connection on their 11 tries from beyond the arc. They finished the night with 35 total points on 12-for-32 shooting (37.5 percent), and three of their 16 three-point tries dropping.
The Nets’ one-two of Irving and Durant, meanwhile, combined for 42 points on a 16-for-31 shooting performance.
Durant led all Brooklyn shooters with 25 points in 27:29, while Irving totaled 17 points, seven rebounds, and five assists in 28:13. This was Irving’s first game back in Boston since leaving the Celtics to join the Nets as a free agent in 2019.
In addition to their horrible shooting (Boston missed 37 of their 45 attempts from downtown), the Celtics failed to provide much of anything on the defensive side of the ball, allowing Brooklyn countless uncontested looks and failing to provide support in the name of team defense.
The Celtics played this game without guards Kemba Walker (knee) and Romeo Langford (wrist), while center Tristan Thompson also missed this one with a hamstring injury. Tacko Fall was a late addition to the injury report, too, and sat this contest out due to “right eye irritation.”
With this brief, two-game preseason in the books, the Celtics will officially begin their preparation for a Dec. 23 Opening Night meeting with the Milwaukee Bucks.