Friday, March 21, 2014
Rapid Reaction: Nets 114, Celtics 98
By Chris Forsberg
Rapid reaction after the Brooklyn Nets defeated the Boston Celtics 114-98 on Friday night at the Barclays Center:
THE NITTY GRITTY
Joe Johnson scored 16 of his team-high 27 points in the third quarter and the Nets generated a ridiculous 63 points in the paint overall (compared to 30 for Boston) en route to a lopsided victory. Mason Plumlee dominated around the basket, putting up 18 points on 6-of-7 shooting (almost all of which was easy dunks). Old friend Paul Pierce added 14 points as the Nets put five players in double figures while shooting 56.4 percent for the game (that number was above 60 percent for most of the night). Avery Bradley matched his career high by scoring 28 points on 12-of-19 shooting (4-of-9 beyond the 3-point arc). Jeff Green added 16 points, but was a game-worst minus-22 in plus/minus. Rajon Rondo registered 12 points, 12 assists and 4 rebounds, but was minus-18.
Bradley's hot hand helped the Celtics hang around until late in the second quarter, when things started to get out of hand. Johnson and Deron Williams hit 3-pointers in the final 64 seconds of the first half as the Nets got their lead up to double figures (64-54) at the intermission. Pierce added a triple on the first possession of the second half and, as Johnson got hot in the third quarter, Brooklyn's lead only once fell from below double digits (and went as high as 18 in the final minute of the third frame).
BRADLEY BOUNCES BACK
Bradley left the game early in the first quarter after landing awkwardly after a 3-pointer. It didn't look good, especially given the right ankle trouble he's endured this season, but Bradley simply got retaped and returned before the end of the frame. He then made all eight shots he took while putting up 18 points in the second quarter. He cooled in the second half, making just 2 of 6 attempts for five points.
RONDO'S DUNK ATTEMPT
Rondo doesn't have a dunk to his credit since returning from ACL surgery in mid-January, but he tried to get his first over Pierce while attacking the rim late in the first half. He missed the attempt while being fouled and both he and Pierce were smiling afterward.
Kelly Olynyk had a forgettable night. Not only did he miss four of his five shot attempts, but he struggled defensively. Olynyk fouled out with eight minutes to play in the game in just 16 minutes of floor time. ... Olynyk was replaced by Joel Anthony, who had a nice block to start his shift, some of the only defense Boston played all game. Anthony played the final eight minutes. ... Jerryd Bayless had one of the more hilarious turnovers of the season when he airmailed a cross-court pass that nearly sailed past both rows of the Boston bench. ... Jared Sullinger's first field goal of the game came with little more than two minutes to play.
WHAT IT MEANS
The good news for the Celtics: Boston (23-47) will now enjoy a four-day break before returning to game action Wednesday with a visit from the Toronto Raptors. It's a week of home-and-homes as the Celtics visit Toronto two days later before a back-to-back set with the Chicago Bulls starting Sunday in Boston.