On a night where both offenses were ice cold, the Brooklyn Nets fell at home to the Boston Celtics 87-85. It was a game marked by gritty and grinding defenses where the team who got the most stops won the game. Boston, who lead the league in defensive efficiency (0.989), outlasted the Nets who now fall to 15-24 on the season.
Tonight’s game was a battle of attrition. Physical play on the block, uncalled fouls, and all round terrible shot making turned this game into a grind. Tensions reached an all-time high when Quincy Acy was fouled hard by Celtic’s power forward Daniel Theis. Worthy of a review, the officials didn’t bother taking a look at the replay. Instead, Acy was assessed a technical when he angrily shoulder bumped Theis in the chest after the foul.
Fast forward to the final seconds of the ball game and a host of fouls were missed. Down two with 20 seconds to go, the officials missed a foul on Spencer Dinwiddie by Kyrie Irving down low, causing him to stumble into the lane before the ball sailed out of bounds off Boston. With six seconds to go, Harris inbounded the ball to Rondae Hollis-Jefferson who appeared to be fouled by Boston’s Semi Ojeleye on the turnaround jumper. With the ball in the air, Hollis-Jefferson was able to corral the rebound and put up a last-second shot which fell short. Replays show Hollis-Jefferson was hit on the arm by Ojeleye but the referees once again dropped the ball.
Offense was Ice Cold
Dinwiddie paced Brooklyn with 20 points (7-15 from the field, 1-5 from three) but it was the inspired play of Jahlil Okafor that put Brooklyn back into contention. His polished post game and ability to manhandle Boston’s bigs caused major headaches for the Celtics. With Baynes in foul trouble and the absence of Al Horford, Okafor posted 12 points, 5 rebounds and 2 blocks in 13 minutes. Why Brooklyn gave him such small playing time is beyond me.
Other key stats:
Despite being tired the Nets managed to stay close in all the key stat categories.
- Turnovers: Nets- 18, Boston- 5
- Points in the Paint: Nets were plus 10 (48) to Celtics (38)
- Fast Break Points: Brooklyn outscored Boston 11-6. This was a strange statistic given the Nets turned the ball over three times more than the Celtics.
- Rebounds: Brooklyn out-rebounded Boston 77-55.
Three takeaways for Brooklyn Nets:
- Brooklyn needs a change of scheme. Although Kenny Atkinson wants to play a spread offense, thepersonnel simply don’t match the intent. The Nets are 2nd in the league for three-pointers attempted (33.8) but sit 28th in three-point percentage (34.9). While the live by the three, die by the three is an exciting offensive scheme, Brooklyn simply don’t have the personnel to do so.
- As constructed, the Nets are best to load the paint and score inside. Okafor’s play was inspiring tonight and his ability to dominate on the block is a tremendous asset. Boston simply had no answer for him down low thus Brooklyn are best to use him in the offense. However, if Atkinson continues to push this three-point heavy offense, his talents are a mismatch for this team.
- Joe Harris’ stock is rising. Despite only scoring 10 points (4-9 from the field, 0-3 from three), Harris had a career-high 13 rebounds in 32 minutes. The 6’6 guard is playing for a contract and his gritty play stood out.