Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Preseason Game 3: Celtics 109 - Nets 105

Associated Press

Brooklyn - After nearly a week off since their trip to Europe, the Celtics were back in action Wednesday night on U.S. soil. Those paying close attention noticed several changes in Brad Stevens' starting lineup that included Amir Johnson, who led the charge in a 109-105 win over the Nets at the Barclay Center.

Newcomer Johnson benefited the most from his first start as a Celtic and finished with 19 points (2-of-3 from behind the arc), 6 rebounds, 2 steals and 2 blocks in 24 minutes. Isaiah Thomas was also inserted into the starting-five for the first time since joining the C's last season, added 17 points and dished out 9 assists, while Evan Turner made his preseason debut starting at the two and contributed with 10 points, 7 assists and 5 rebounds in limited playing time. Jae Crowder, Kelly Olynyk and rookie RJ Hunter (4 assists, 4 steals) each chipped in 11 points apiece in the win.

Afterwards the Celtics coach had this to say about Amir Johnson's great offensive performance:

“He hasn’t scored it like that every day in practice,” Stevens told reporters. “But Amir has been a threat to make shots every day. He’s probably made forty percent of his threes in practice. That might be four out of 10, but he’s very capable.”

Those missing on Wednesday night for the C's included: Marcus Smart (strep throat), Terry Rozier (knee soreness), Avery Bradley (DNP) and David Lee (DNP) .

Thaddeus Young, who was one of the few bright spots for the Nets, finished with 19 points and 6 rebounds, while Brook Lopez added 12 points on six shot attempts. Bojan Bogdanovic chipped in with 11 points and Shane Larkin contributed 10 points to round out those that ended up in double-figures for Brooklyn, who are now 1-3 to start their preseason.

The Celtics jumped out of the gate aggressive forcing multiple Nets turnovers quickly pushing their lead into double digits before Brooklyn cut it 28-21 to end the first. It was RJ Hunter's three 3-pointers in the second quarter that fended off the home team's attempt to get back into it, plus a Jarrett Jack ejection didn't help much either. The guard threw his shoulder into Jonas Jerebko to prevent a fast break bucket and by halftime the C's were up 54-43.

The third quarter featured a mini comeback by the Nets as they outscored Boston 31-34, but by the start of the fourth both teams had substituted their starters. Brooklyn was within four but never led once in this game. It was rookies Jordan Mickey and Hunter who made sure the Celtics went 3-0 in the closing minutes of the fourth.

Boston will continue their New York trip and head across town to Madison Square Garden to take on the Knicks on Friday night. Tip-off is at 7:30 PM EST

Game Notes:
Celtics continue to share the ball as they handed out 28 assists (16 from their starting guards) on 40 made field goals while shooting 50-percent (13-of-26) from the behind the arc. 

Marcus Smart and rookie Terry Rozier are both expected to miss Friday night's game against the Knicks

Joel Pavón
Follow us on Twitter:@CausewayStreet 

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