Brooklyn Nets: 5 Takeaways From an Easy Win Over the Boston Celtics
The Brooklyn Nets had little to no issue putting away the Boston Celtics on Friday night, winning their second and final preseason game, 113-89.
That’s a wrap on the Brooklyn Nets’ brief preseason. Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant definitely lived up to expectations, and Joe Harris certainly seems like he was worth the price tag. Head coach Steve Nash hasn’t ruffled any feathers just yet, but there’s plenty of time between now and the season-opener for that. Nonetheless, the Nets handily took down the Boston Celtics on Friday night, finishing with a 113-89 victory as the final buzzer sounded. Let’s look at five takeaways from the exhibition.
Caris LeVert looks just fine.
Headed into a season that will actually feature the team’s two stars, fans were worried about Caris LeVert‘s fit on this roster. Largely in part due to his capabilities and necessity for ball handling, but also because of his health. LeVert missed the first preseason game due to a patella contusion, only further encouraging the discomfort within the fanbase. But he made it onto the court for the Brooklyn Nets’ Friday night exhibition, and rest assured, he looked like the Caris LeVert of old.
The 26-year old finished the game with 18 points in his 21 minutes of play off of the bench—a role fans may have to get used to seeing him take on this year. Expect to see the guard absent from Brooklyn’s starting lineup for Tuesday’s season opener against the Golden State Warriors, with Spencer Dinwiddie joining Kyrie Irving in the backcourt. It may not be the worst thing.
Small ball center Jeff Green is real, and it’s good.
I didn’t expect to see this implicated this early into the season, or rather the preseason, but we got some Jeff Green minutes in small-ball lineups as the center! And they were good! Not flashy by any means, but Green was more than serviceable in the role, another trend Nets’ fans may want to prepare for inevitably catching fire. The 34-year old journeyman finished on Friday night with five points, three rebounds, and a steal in 17 minutes. Brooklyn was a notable (+3) in those minutes. But the highlight of Jeff Green’s night was no doubt this two-handed poster dunk over rookie Aaron Nesmith.
We got more Tyler Johnson minutes!
Ok, so it was only a handful. But you love to see a guy like Tyler Johnson get some time on a bigger stage than the NBA’s bubble. As the season goes on, I’ll be interested to see if he doesn’t get a larger opportunity than fourth-quarter minutes in a blowout. After playing 12 minutes in their win over Washington on Sunday, Johnson went scoreless in his six minutes on Friday.
Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant look ready.
Brooklyn’s two stars are looking fresh, and healthy more importantly. They each played over 25 minutes on Friday night, and while Durant may have missed some shots, both appear to be in peak athletic condition. Irving played one more minute than his counterpart and finished with 17 points, seven rebounds, and five assists–including a handling highlight that may just land him in Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Those same hands earned him two steals and a block, too.
As previously mentioned, Durant missed a few shots that seemed to be right on his spots. He ended the night with 25 points but shot nine-of-16 from the field and two-of-five from the three-point line. My early analysis—don’t stress it. Durant’s going to continue settling into a game that’s been estranged from him for over a year and a half as the season ramps up. And again, he looks just fine physically: handles, dunks, and all. It’s go time for the Nets, and the season tip is just days away.
It’s the preseason, just a reminder.
Just as is the case with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, it’s worth repeating: this was just a preseason game. It’s no indication of how an actual game versus the Boston Celtics would play out, nor is it a reason to exaggerate or over-analyze any negative signs you may have seen tonight. All in the same though, enjoy the good. As Brooklyn Nets’ fans, you’ve earned it.