Keys to the Game: Nets 113, Celtics 89

Marc D'Amico
Team Reporter and Analyst

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Key Moment

It took one game to notice the impact – or lack thereof – of no crowd being inside TD Garden.

The Boston Celtics began staging a massive comeback during the early moments of Friday’s third quarter against the Brooklyn Nets. Had a Celtics crowd been on hand, Boston may have completed the comeback. Instead, the Nets were able to erase their host’s momentum.

Boston trailed by 21 points midway through the second quarter. The C’s, however, turned the tide for a few minutes at the start of the third quarter and pulled back to within nine. They scored 10 of the first 13 points of the second half to make it a 65-56 game with 9:31 remaining in the third period.

In a normal setting, the TD Garden faithful would have been roaring at that point and juicing the C’s up for a run at a win. As is painstakingly obvious, however, we’re living in far from normal times.

With no crowd to fight against, Brooklyn responded to Boston’s brief run with a dominant spurt of its own. Kyrie Irving (five points) and Joe Harris (two points) combined to score seven straight for the Nets to push their lead back into a comfortable zone at 16 points. Irving and Kevin Durant would go on to take over the remainder of the quarter, as they combined for 19 total points during the frame while the Celtics tallied only four total points after their early spurt.

Brooklyn pulled ahead 92-60 at the end of the frame and went on to win 113-89.

Key Player

Kevin Durant sure looks like he’s back.

Durant, who Friday night played in just his second NBA game since tearing his right Achilles tendon in June of 2019, was red-hot in his return to TD Garden. He scored a game-high 25 points on 9-for-16 shooting during 27-plus minutes of action. Durant canned seven of his 11 shots from inside the arc, two of his five shots from beyond the arc, and five of his six free throw attempts.

The lanky scorer also got it done in other areas of the box score. He hauled in six rebounds and tied Rob Williams for the game high in blocked shots with three.

Box Score Nuggets

  • Boston shot just 8-for-45 (17.8 percent) from beyond the arc.
  • Jayson Tatum led the Celtics with 19 points.
  • Both teams committed at least 20 turnovers (22 for Boston, 20 for Brooklyn).
  • Jaylen Brown shot 7-for-15 from the field for 16 points.
  • Kevin Durant (25 points) and Kyrie Irving (17 points) combined for 42 points.
  • Caris LeVert led all reserves with 18 points off of Brooklyn's bench.
  • In his first preseason appearance, Daniel Theis grabbed nine rebounds.
  • Brooklyn made as many free throws (21) as Boston attempted (21).
  • Rob Williams and Durant tied for the game high in blocks with three apiece.

Quote of the Night

Jaylen Brown