Looking to one-up their impressive win over the Suns on Thursday, the Celtics headed to Brooklyn Friday night for a matchup with the Eastern Conference-leading Nets. However, they came up short in this one, falling 109-104.
Perhaps the result of the back-to-back scheduling, sloppy play was a key reason the Celtics failed to come away with the win. They turned the ball over 19 times, shot just 11-of-16 from the free throw line, and failed to register a single fast break point. Meanwhile, the Nets scored 17 points off turnovers, and recorded 32 points in transition.
It was a back-and-forth battle early, before the Celtics pulled off an 11-4 run late in the first quarter. After 12 minutes, Boston led 25-21.
Brooklyn opened the second quarter with a quick 12-0 run, taking the lead and forcing a Brad Stevens timeout. The Nets lead grew to as large as 14 points, but a late run by the Celtics was capped with a Jayson Tatum buzzer beater that brought them back within single digits. Heading into halftime, Brooklyn led 60-51.
That gap stayed relatively consistent for most of the third quarter. However, the Nets found a groove and recorded a 12-3 run to close the frame. With one quarter left to play, the Celtics were down 88-73.
It wasn’t until the four and a half minute mark that the Celtics got back within single digits. That 18-4 run got them within three points, but that’s as close as Boston would get. Jayson Tatum missed a pair of key free throws in the final minute, which all but sealed the loss.
Tatum led the Celtics with a 38-point, 10-rebound double-double. He was 14-of-27 from the field and 6-of-12 from deep, but missed three free throws – only the third time this year he’s missed three or more in a game.
Off the bench, Payton Pritchard came up a point shy of his career-high, scoring 22. Marcus Smart was the only other Celtic in double figures, he finished with 19.
For Brooklyn, Joe Harris scored a team-high 20 points, while Kyrie Irving was a rebound shy of a triple-double with 15 points and 11 assists.
Next up for the Celtics is a Sunday afternoon game in Charlotte against the Hornets. That one tips off at 1:00 p.m., with pregame coverage getting underway at 12:30 on 105.7 WROR.
Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at abarth@985TheSportsHub.com.