Celtics 115, Nets 85
We’re not sure what Doc Rivers told his team before tonight’s game, but one has to guess it went a little something like this:
“Tonight, our real preseason begins. We will attack this game with a regular season mentality. We will dominate the Brooklyn Nets.”
Consider it done.
The Celtics set the tone for tonight’s game from the opening tip and never let their foot come off of the gas pedal.
It all started with a driving layup from Courtney Lee just 15 seconds into the game. The easy points continued when Rajon Rondo stole a pass from Gerald Wallace on the ensuing possession and took it coast to coast for a layup.
Rondo’s basket made it 4-0 Celtics after only 34 seconds had ticked off of the clock. Boston was able to bump that lead up to 7-0 when Paul Pierce hit the first of his four 3-pointers on the night. Shortly thereafter, Boston forced yet another Brooklyn turnover, this time by Brook Lopez, and Pierce slammed home a dunk on the break to put the C’s ahead 9-0.
It didn’t take long – one minute and 16 seconds, to be exact – for the Celtics to take complete control of this game. They continued the momentum throughout the first quarter by forcing the Nets into six turnovers. It was an incredible team effort at both ends of the floor that resulted in a whopping 30-point victory.
That’s how you set the tone at the opening tip and carry it through for 48 minutes. Or, just maybe, it was Rivers who set the tone in the locker room before his players even took the court.
Key Box Score Line
We finally got to see Kevin Garnett play some serious minutes tonight. Doc Rivers, who walked Garnett through the first five games of the preseason, allowed the Big Ticket to log a preseason high of 22 minutes of action Thursday night. The results? Exactly what one would expect when KG gets ample playing time.
Garnett finished Thursday’s dominant victory with 14 points on 7-of-9 shooting from the floor. He scored in various ways, from posting on the block to drilling jumpers on the perimeter. He also finished with four boards and four assists. That assist total trailed only Rajon Rondo’s nine on the team.
Fans have been antsy to see Garnett get big minutes, and they finally got a taste tonight. His playing time should continue to increase as the regular season approaches, which is bad news for Boston’s final two preseason opponents.
Box Score Nuggets
- Seven Celtics scored in double-figures, including all five starters.
- Paul Pierce led the C's with 18 points and hit all four of his 3-pointers.
- Boston shot 56.5 percent from the floor while Brooklyn shot just 37.2 percent.
- Rajon Rondo scored 14 points and dished out a game-high nine assists.
- The Celtics finished with 12 steals, including four from Courtney Lee.
- Kris Joseph scored 11 points off the bench in just 12 minutes.
- Jason Terry scored 15 points off the bench thanks to a 5-of-5 shooting performance from downtown.
- Boston shot 11-of-19 from 3-point range overall.
- All five of Brooklyn's starters scored in double-figures as well, led by Brook Lopez's 14 points.
- Kevin Garnett had his best preseason performance with 14 points, four rebounds and four assists.
- The Celtics scored 27 points off of 19 Brooklyn turnovers.
- The Nets took 21 more free throws (31) than the Celtics (10), but still lost by 30 points.
- Boston scored at least 30 points in three of the four quarters.
- The Celtics led from start to finish, topping out with a 30-point lead.
Quote of the Night
Doc Rivers on his team's defensive identity: "This was us, that was our defense."