Saturday, November 11, 2023

Celtics 121, Nets 107: Jaylen Brown led all scorers in NBA Tournament opener, C's snap two-game skid

The Celtics got back on track with 121-107 victory over the Brooklyn Nets Friday night, in their inaugural In-Season Tournament game at TD Garden.

Jaylen Brown, who had a miserable outing in the team's loss to the Philadelphia 76ers earlier in the week, led all scorers with 28 points on 10-of-19 from the field and 5-of-9 made 3-point attempts, to go along with five assists.
"It's a learning curve. We're still figuring stuff out. [We're] learning from one another," Brown said in his postgame comments. "Long season to go, and it's all about building trust, building chemistry out there."
Jayson Tatum recorded his fifth double-double of the young season with 23 points (6-of-17 shooting), 10 rebounds, while Sam Hauser added 15 points on 5-of-10 from behind the arc off the bench. Jrue Holiday (12 rebounds, nine assists) and Payton Pritchard each chipped in 13 points respectively for the Celtics, as they snapped a two-game skid.
"To me, [Payton] changed the game for us," coach Joe Mazzulla said. "It's easy to look at the scoring on the bench and feel like they're not producing. But it's so much other stuff that they do for us on a daily basis. Tonight we got to see the other side of that."
Despite Al Horford sitting out due to right knee injury management, the Celtics bench had their best performance of the season so far with 37 points (13-of-30 from the floor) and 21 rebounds.

Lonnie Walker IV had 20 points, seven rebounds, while Trendon Watford and Dennis Smith Jr. each netted 14 apiece for the short-handed Nets (no Ben Simmons, Cam Thomas), who fell to 4-5 on the season and 1-1 in East Group C play.

The Celtics jumped out to a 17-point lead in the opening quarter, but only were up 38-33 heading into the second, before taking a 66-54 advantage into intermission with 12 made 3s.

The deficit grew for Brooklyn to 18 midway through the third, but they outscored the C's 30-27 to end the period and were down nine to start the final frame.

Boston used a 18-6 run in the fourth to push it back up to 111-90 with 6:51 left to play, which turned into a comfortable 24-point lead (the largest of the night) on back-to-back baskets by Pritchard to put away the Nets for good.
"I think it's always good to know that we can get to another level," Jrue Holiday told reporters. "Execution. Toughness. Effort. That's things we can kind of hang our hats on every night."
The Celtics (6-2) will remain at home to host the Toronto Raptors (4-4) Saturday on a second night of a back-to-back.

Game Notes:

Boston hit 43.6% of their attempts from the floor and 19-of-52 (36.5%) from 3-point range, while the Nets were 44.7% from the field and 15-of-37 (40.5%) from behind the arc. The Celtics dished out 29 assists (eight turnovers) on 41 made shots and Brooklyn had 26 dimes (12 turnovers) on 38 baskets. The C's out-rebounded the visiting team 52-46, but were even when it came to points in the paint 32-32.

Joel Pavón

Photo used courtesy of Getty Images

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