A game that was supposed to be a test of firepower between the two Atlantic division giants in the NBA lost a bit of its luster due to the absence of two star players.
Nets’ top scorer Kevin Durant and Celtics key player Jaylen Brown were out because of injuries, which is why this much-anticipated matchup became a test of will instead.
The Celtics have the number one road record in the NBA at 13-7, and it showed tonight. They ran away with a hard fought victory against the Nets 109-98 in Brooklyn on Friday Morning (Manila time).
Gutsy and determined, the Nets tried to will their way to beating the odds without Durant. They had an 8-19 win-loss record without their star player last season. Unfortunately, his absence was felt during crunch time in the fourth quarter where the team, at one point, went scoreless for three and a half minutes.
Nevertheless, it was a battle worthy of its billing. The teams went back and forth in the first three quarters. They were shooting threes with abandon as well as showcasing some quick passing and highlight reel plays with Jayson Tatum and Kyrie Irving asking who’s boss.
Irving led the Nets with 24 points while Tatum had only 20 points, ending his streak of scoring 25 points or more in 13 games.
Bench scoring clinch it
The story of the game was the Celtics bench and the team’s staunch defense. The Celtics held Brooklyn to 16 points in the fourth quarter while players like Payton Pritchard and Malcolm Brogdon made sure their lead increased enough to stave off any Nets comeback.
Pritchard and Brogdon scored eight straight points that turned a two point lead to eight with nine minutes left in the quarter. That lead went up as high as 13 after Grant Williams’ layup with 47 seconds left that put the game to bed.
It was a well balanced game for the Celtics, who had six players scoring in double figures, while the Nets felt the absence of Durant most especially in the fourth quarter. Their bench tried to compensate with T.J. Warren who scored 20 points for the Nets.
This was only the second loss in 10 games for the Nets.
They will hope to bounce back when the Oklahoma Thunder travels to Brooklyn, while Boston will bring their five-game winning streak to Charlotte next.