24 hours prior, the Brooklyn Nets and their fans were on cloud nine after one of the team’s best wins on the season. The historic win over the Milwaukee Bucks without three of the team’s best players (Jarrett Allen, Joe Harris and Caris LeVert) was the talk of the sports and gambling worlds. After such a miraculous win the excitement and buzz were abounding for their matchup against the Kemba Walker-less Boston Celtics. Especially since the last time these two squads faced off Caris LeVert put up a 50-burger. However, that excitement was quickly doused as the Nets suffered a loss fitting of the huge talent gap between the two teams.
Contrary to how Brooklyn started their game against Milwaukee, the Nets and Celtics started off pretty regularly. The two teams traded baskets for the majority of the first quarter. And for a bit, it looked like the Nets were going to make the Celtics work for a win, especially with Jayson Tatum collecting three personal fouls in the first quarter. However, the Celtics had no intention of being Milwaukee part two and did what the Bucks should have done to the Nets in the first half.
A prevailing theme throughout the game was three-point shooting and free throws. Boston shot 15 free throws in the first quarter, sinking 13 of them. This was the catalyst for an extended 20-1 Celtics run that spanned the last minutes of the first quarter and into the second. During this run, Boston got easy looks in the paint which forced Nets coach Jacque Vaughn to switch to a zone. That turned out to be an even worse idea as Boston started lighting it up from deep. Boston shot 9-15 from beyond the arc in the first half which culminated in a 19-point lead at halftime.
Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown must have decided they wanted a restful second half as the two came out the locker room guns a-blazing. Brooklyn had no answer for the two who ended the night with 21 and 19 points respectively. Halfway through the third quarter, the game was over and garbage time had commenced. For the game, Boston shot 56.8% for the game and 51.3% (20-39) on 3-point field goals. In a nutshell, the Nets were outplayed in every aspect of this contest.
With blowout losses such as these, there aren’t many positives to take away from. After a promising first quarter, Caris LeVert became a ghost for the rest of the game. Although they both scored in double-digits neither Jarrett Allen nor Joe Harris played particularly well. After a career performance against the Bucks, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot was held to a meager four points. And Lance Thomas was out there pretty much for cardio. If there were any positives Jeremiah Martin and Donta Hall both played well, albeit during garbage time. Hall finished with 11 points making all four of his shots while Martin tallied a smooth 20 points. Dzanan Musa also added 13 points in 17 minutes.
The Nets looked exactly how we expected them to look while in Orlando playing superior competition. Despite a miraculous win against the Bucks it’s key to remember the personnel this roster has at the moment. Expectations for this team entering the Orlando bubble were to get a few wins, secure a spot in the playoffs, and eventually get swept by either the Bucks or Raptors. Brooklyn is still on pace to do just that.
Sitting at 2-2 this team controls its own fate with Washington currently winless and showing no signs that they’ll win a game in the bubble. It’s imperative the overall performance of the team in the bubble is taken with a grain of salt. As we know, this roster will look vastly different come next season.
The Nets must like being a part of history though. Their win against the Bucks was the largest upset since 1995. The 149 points surrendered to Boston was the most the Celtics have scored since 1992.