Attrition Celtics crush Nets
Between the last playoff sweep and this second win in two championship matchups, it’s a no-brainer to say that Brooklyn is struggling against Boston! In a duel marred by the absence of Kevin Durant on one side and Jaylen Brown on the other, it was still the C’s who managed to get the better of a contested matchup through three quarters.
In its new configuration, Brooklyn has introduced a conquering face, with sharp entry Joe Harris to replace Kevin Durant at the five base. Ben Simmons was there too, notching 10 assists by the end of the first half.
Other than that, Boston didn’t let its guard down. After a gentle start, Jason Tatum, who scored 7 points at the end of the first quarter, kept his team in the game (31-29). Then it was the Brogdon-White duo that brought their stone to the building (57-60).
Brooklyn continued to rely on their outside shots after the break to regain the lead. But once again, Malcolm Brogdon and Grant Williams did what it took to keep the C’s in the game until the start of the fourth quarter when everything changed (82-84).
It really took just over three minutes for Boston to tie things up, with a 10-0 run initiated by Payton Pritchard between Marcus Smart and Luke Kornet (84-96).
3-pointers from Joe Harris and TJ Warren weren’t enough to reverse the trend. Instead, Jayson Tatum’s cornerback Derrick White ended the comeback (96-117), allowing the Celtics to earn their 31st win of the season (98-109).
WHAT TO REMEMBER
– The Celtics are leading the East more than ever. Boston’s fifth win in a row, which continues to lead the Eastern Conference after its success at Dolphins. The achievement is all the more remarkable given that the C’s won on the road and without Jaylen Brown. The Celtics are now three games ahead of the race. The royal road to the playoffs?
– Boston’s best fixes. The duel was slightly marred by the absence of Jaylen Brown on one side and Kevin Durant on the other, and the stakes suddenly changed. Which team would best handle the unavailability of their key player? If Joe Harris and TJ Warren did their best to hide KD’s package, and Jack Vaughn brainstormed to form a “second unit” with Ben Simmons at five and four shooters to support him, Boston made the best adjustment. Between Derrick White (15 points) Malcom Brogdon (16), Luke Cornett (11) and Payton Pritchard (9), the C’s have several to maintain the team’s level of play.
✅ Marcus Smart. The scrappy (4/12 shooting) guard continued to play for his team, shining in a different way with his defense and game vision, putting up solid stats (16 points, 6 rebounds, 10 assists, 2). steals).
✅ Derrick White. One of the few reliable 3-pointers on a remotely difficult night. He decides the fate of the match with 3 goals scored from the corner. A significant presence throughout the match in this particular context.
✅⛔️Kyrie Irving. The point guard may not always be the hero, but he was expected to be on another level in this particular game at the top of the Eastern Conference. All in all, a decent game, with 24 points (9/24) and 6 assists, but scored only two baskets in the final half.
✅⛔️ Ben Simmons. A very interesting first half, 13 assists in the end, but how to explain this chronic lack of appetite to score? Zero points for just three tries is pure Ben Simmons, but he still needs to find ways to exist offensively.
Brooklyn (27-14): The Nets will host OKC this Sunday (midnight).
Boston (31-12): The Celtics will travel to North Carolina for a doubleheader with Charlotte starting tomorrow (01:00).