All evening long, it felt as if the Boston Celtics were eventually going to pull away from the visiting Brooklyn Nets. They finally did so early on in the fourth period.
Boston led by only four points after Allen Crabbe Crabbe’s four-point play at the 10:46 mark of the quarter, but the Celtics quickly replied to that possession with a game-changing run.
Jayson Tatum made a free throw at the 10:37 mark that quietly ignited a 7-0 run that pushed Boston ahead by 11 with 9:36 remaining in the game.
Tatum’s two free throw attempts were Boston’s third and fourth of the quarter – in a span of only 83 seconds – after it attempted only five during the first three quarters combined. Those free throws were the first indication that the C’s were ready to play with aggression at both ends and put this game away for good.
Boston used a great defensive possession against Brooklyn to force a miss out of Quincy Acy from long range. The C’s flew around during the entire possession, and Marcus Morris challenged Acy’s shot at a high level to force the miss.
Terry Rozier grabbed the rebound off Acy’s misfire and the C’s took the ball in transition. Five passes and 12 seconds later, Morris let one fly from beyond the arc on the left wing and cashed the shot in for three points.
The C’s then forced another miss from long range out of the Nets, this one by Crabbe, before firing up one of their own just four seconds later. Al Horford grabbed Crabbe’s miss, dribbled into a transition possession, and dropped a pass off to a trailing Tatum for an uncontested threeball from the top of the arc.
Tatum’s 3-pointer pushed the C’s ahead by 11 and they controlled the game with relative ease – save for a brief, last-second push from the Nets – from there on out. Their lead eventually grew to as many as 14 before they held on for the 108-105 win, their third in a row and their league-leading 30th victory of the season.
Terry Rozier is quite possible in the midst of the best stretch of basketball during his young, three-year career. Sunday evening marked his fourth consecutive game of at least 13 points, as he dropped 14 on the visiting Nets.
Rozier’s shooting numbers have been on a steady climb of late, and that trend continued on Sunday. He made five of his nine shot attempts off the bench, including a 2-for-4 performance from long distance. He is now up to 39.0 percent shooting from the field and 36.9 percent shooting from long distance this season.
There may be no better rebounding point guard in the NBA than Rozier, and he showcased that talent on a consistent basis Sunday evening. He tallied seven rebounds to lead all reserves, including both team’s big men.
Rozier also tallied three assists and a steal while not committing a single turnover during his nearly 24 minutes of playing time.
Box Score Nuggets
- Kyrie Irving scored a game-high 28 points.
- Irving also grabbed a season-high eight rebounds.
- Rondae Hollis-Jefferson led the Nets with 22 points.
- Six Brooklyn payers scored in double-figures.
- Each team's bench group scored at least 43 points (Brooklyn 46, Boston 43).
- Marcus Morris scored 15 off the bench for the C's, and Terry Rozier scored 14.
- Caris LeVert led all reserves with 16 points.
- Brooklyn outscored Boston 50-34 in the paint.
- The C's attempted only three free throws during the first half, and 22 during the second half.
- Boston scored 19 second-chance points.
- Jaylen Brown canned three of his five 3-pointers.
- Hollis-Jefferson also grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds.
- The C's committed 17 turnovers to Brooklyn's nine.
Quote of the Night
With more healthy bodies available, there's more decisions that are hard to make.
Brad Stevens on Daniel Theis not appearing during the second half, and how rotational decisions will be difficult moving forward.