After winning nine of 10 games heading into the All-Star break, some wondered if the pause would cool the Celtics off. If anything, it appears to have had an opposite effect. The team came out firing on all cylinders in their return Thursday night, blowing out the Nets 129-106 in Brooklyn.
While it wasn’t as big as their 28-4 lead last time they faced the Nets, the Celtics got up big quick. They had Brooklyn doubled up 20-10 midway through the first quarter, and then the offense really kicked in. The C’s shot 10-of-17 over the first 12 minutes and led 35-22 after one quarter.
The Celtics’ lead grew to as many as 22 points early in the second quarter. A 9-1 run from the Nets cut that down, but the stretch was brief. Lights out shooting from the Celtics flipped the momentum again – they were 22-of-40 from the floor and 10-of-19 from three at the half, leading 67-52.
In the third, the Celtics continued to pull away. Jayson Tatum had 11 points in the quarter, and by the time the horn sounded the Celtics had their biggest lead of the night at 23 points. Heading into the fourth, Boston was up 98-74.
For most of the fourth quarter, both teams went deep into their respective benches. Boston’s lead grew to as large as 29 points in the frame.
Jayson Tatum led all scorers with a 30-point performance. He was 10-of-20 from the field, and 4-of-9 from three. Jaylen Brown added 18 points. Both of the Celtics’ starting bigs recorded double-doubles, with Robert Williams finishing with 12 points and 11 rebounds, and Al Horford putting up 11 points and 13 boards. Marcus Smart had 15 points and six assists in 30 minutes in his return from an ankle injury.
With Kevin Durant still injured, Seth Curry led the Nets with 22 points. Bruce Brown had 15.
With the win, the Celtics improve to 35-26 on the year. They’ve won 12 of their last 14 games.
Next up for the Celtics is a rematch with the last team to beat them, the Detroit Pistons. Saturday’s tip-off from Detroit is set for noon, with pregame coverage beginning at 11:30 a.m. on 98.5 The Sports Hub.
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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.