Box Score Nuggets
Quote of the Night
The Celtics built up an early 17-point lead over Brooklyn on Wednesday night and looked like they had the game in the bag by halftime.
Boston’s suffocating defense provided a nice early cushion, but Brooklyn caught the C’s sleeping during the third quarter and snuck back into the contest.
With 7:53 left in the third, the C’s held a 65-50 lead, but Thaddeus Young and Brook Lopez keyed an 11-point run to cut Brooklyn’s deficit to four with 4:43 left in the frame.
That’s when Evan Turner, who was held scoreless during the first half, flipped a switch and woke the Celtics back up.
Rookie R.J. Hunter found Turner with a nice drive-and-drop under the basket for an easy two points, giving Boston a 67-61 lead.
Lopez responded with a dunk on the other end, but Turner scored with some pizzazz of his own on the C’s next possession, kissing a close-range turnaround jumper high off the backboard, and putting Boston back up by six.
The Nets remained persistent as Joe Johnson nailed a running jumper 13 seconds later, but Turner was fouled on the C’s next drive up the court and sunk both free throws to give Boston a 73-67 advantage.
With 1:47 left in the third, Turner tallied his 10th point of the quarter on a finger roll layup, and then dished out his seventh assist on a Jared Sullinger 3-pointer one minute later.
At that point, the C’s were up 78-69 and did not allow Brooklyn to come within two possessions until the closing seconds of the game.
Amir Johnson is widely known as a scrappy defender, but he has never been regarded as a scoring threat.
On Wednesday night in Brooklyn, he was all the above.
The 6-foot-9 Celtics forward scored a team-high 19 points on 8-of-13 shooting, and Brooklyn never saw it coming.
Johnson, who started in place of a resting David Lee, was unstoppable early on, setting the tone with 12 points in the opening quarter. Half of those points were tallied from beyond the arc by way of two uncontested 3-pointers.
Though he’s not known for his range, Johnson has made remarks during the preseason that if he has an open look beyond the arc, he’s confident he can make it.
Apparently the Nets either haven’t been tuning in, or simply didn’t buy it. For that, they paid the price.
Johnson didn’t just score by way of the 3 though, as he found multiple ways of swishing the net Wednesday night. He relied heavily on his close-range, right-handed jump hook shot, and added some emphasis with a reverse dunk during the first quarter.
On the defensive end Johnson chipped in with a team-high six rebounds, two blocks and two steals. But the story last night, for once, didn’t revolve around his dogged defense.
At Barclays Center Johnson got to show off his offensive prowess, and it was flawless.
Box Score Nuggets
- The Celtics' largest lead was 18 points and they never trailed during the game.
- Amir Johnson notched a team high in points (19) and rebounds (6).
- The Celtics assisted on 16 of their 20 made baskets during the first half.
- Isaiah Thomas dished out a game-high nine assists.
- The C's shot 13-of-26 on 3-point attempts. Brooklyn made 7-of-22 attempts from beyond the arc.
- Joe Johnson and Brook Lopez were a combined 0-for-4 during the first half.
- Boston blocked nine shots to Brooklyn's six. The Celtics had only swatted six shots in their last two games combined.
- Brooklyn's Thomas Robinson corralled a game-high 12 rebounds during just 18 minutes of play.
- The C's led the Nets in fast break points, 18-10.
- Kelly Olynyk had four personal fouls during his first seven and a half minutes of play.
- The Nets held a 50-44 rebounding advantage, and outdueled the C's on the offensive glass, 11-7.
- Boston rookie R.J. Hunter led the game with four steals. No one else swiped more than two.
- Brooklyn shot 28-of-31 from the free throw line. Boston was 16-of-22.
Quote of the Night
[Johnson] just knows how to play [on] both ends. He makes easy plays with the ball and on the defensive end he makes everybody better.
Brad Stevens on Amir Johnson's play.