The Boston Celtics lost 113-89 to the Brooklyn Nets in the final game of their preseason action. Aside from an early second half charge where the Celtics brought the game to a nine-point deficit, this was a good old-fashioned blowout. After a poor showing against the Philadelphia 76ers, the Celtics responded by finding a way to play even worse in this one. The Kevin Durant-Kyrie Irving duo proved to be quite a dangerous tandem, and the Celtics pretty much rolled over and died.
For the second consecutive game, Javonte Green found his way into the starting lineup. Despite this, he played only 10 minutes, took no shots, and only had four rebounds and a steal to his name. It’s interesting that coach Brad Stevens seems to be leaning towards Green pairing with Marcus Smart in the backcourt considering the other options Stevens has. After this game, however, this is probably the least of Stevens concerns.
The Celtics allowed the Nets to control this game throughout it’s entirety. There was never really a point (aside from the aforementioned run to start the second half) where it felt like the Celtics could turn this into a contest, which is a tribute to the poor showing both offensively and defensively.
Offensively, the Celtics shot miserably. As a team, they shot 35% from the field, including an atrocious 18% from three. To put that in perspective, the Celtics took 45 3-point attempts, and only managed to hit eight of them. Again, it’s only preseason, but if the Celtics bring these shooting woes into the regular season, it’s probably not going to be pretty.
Jayson Tatum led the way with 19 points, but had to take 17 shots to get there, resulting in an ugly 5-17 shooting line along with 8 rebounds and 3 assists. Jaylen Brown had an iffy night, putting up 16 points, but on 15 shots, including 1-7 from three, along with four rebounds and assists apiece. Compared to the results from their last game, this could be considered an improvement, but not a big one.
The ugly shooting performances were not limited to the two stars. Marcus Smart shot 3-11, including 1-6 from three. Payton Pritchard followed up his hot start by shooting 2-9 while also shooting 1-6 from three. Grant Williams and Carson Edwards combined to miss all 11 of their shots, eight of which were three-pointers. All in all, it was a terrible shooting performance up and down the roster, and it’s tough to find any bright spot offensively from this one.
Defensively, the Celtics gave the Nets way too much leeway. The Nets were able to knockdown 46% of their threes, which shows that the Celtics gave them way too much space to operate behind the arc. Tightening up on the perimeter in going to be crucial for the Celtics, especially considering they will run into the Nets in less than a week now for a Christmas day showdown.
Taking the two preseason performances into account, it could be a rocky start for the Celtics. They open the season with the Milwaukee Bucks and the Nets, before playing the Pacers twice in a row. The Celtics needs to tighten up defensively at the perimeter, and hit their shots on the other end. The Celtics fell behind early last night against the Nets, and spent the rest of the night firing up three pointers in a desperate attempt to get back in the game. That’s not a recipe for success, and when opening night rolls around on Tuesday, coach Stevens and the Celtics need to have a better plan than that.