2/14 Game Preview: Nets at Celtics

Provided by Field Level Media

The Boston Celtics will attempt to beat the visiting Brooklyn Nets for the second time in as many nights when the teams meet Wednesday in the final game for each side before the All-Star break.

Jayson Tatum collected 41 points and 14 rebounds to help Boston beat Brooklyn 118-110 on Tuesday in New York during the opener of the home-and-home series. It was the third time Tatum scored at least 40 points in a game this season.

"I got some easy ones," Tatum said. "I got out in transition. I got some free throws. I got some kickouts for open threes, so I was just in a good rhythm."

Tatum tied his career high by scoring 31 points in the first half, and the Celtics went on to produce their fifth win in a row.

"I think that's part of his growth as a player is that he understands he has to be great for us every night, but it looks different every night," Boston coach Joe Mazzulla said. "The first half was true individual greatness, and I thought the way he manipulated the defense in the second half is another sign of greatness."

Jaylen Brown added 19 points for the Celtics, who have won nine of their last 10 meetings with the Nets -- 13 of 14 if postseason play is included.

"These high-level guys, once they get going ..." Brooklyn coach Jacque Vaughn said. "We started to trap (Tatum) a little bit, but they have so much shooting out there. It'll be interesting to watch it again and see what adjustments we can make."

Mikal Bridges scored 27 points and Cam Thomas had 26 for the Nets, who lost for the fourth time in five games.

"I think you have to look at, especially when you play these guys (Wednesday), is what are the things that got us in position to defend and give up only 46 points in the second half?" Vaughn said. "We have to be able to contain them and keep them in front of us and rebound the basketball."

Brooklyn backup center Day'Ron Sharpe returned to action Tuesday after missing 15 games with a hyperextended left knee. He logged six points and four rebounds in minutes.

Boston played without starting center Kristaps Porzingis, who sat out due to a back contusion. Mazzulla said Porzingis is expected to play Wednesday.

Al Horford replaced Porzingis in the lineup and scored 16 points on 6-for-6 shooting. Porzingis is averaging 20.4 points and seven rebounds in 39 games this season.

Vaughn said forward Cameron Johnson could be back in the lineup Wednesday. Johnson, who has missed the past four games because of a left adductor strain, is averaging 13.9 points, 4.7 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game. He is shooting 45.8 percent from the field, 40.1 percent from 3-point territory.

Vaughn also said Ben Simmons won't play Wednesday because it will be the team's second game in two nights. Simmons finished with five points, eight assists and six rebounds on Tuesday.

The Wednesday matchup will be the fourth meeting between the Celtics and Nets this season. Tatum had 32 points and 11 rebounds in Boston's 124-114 road victory on Nov. 4, and Brown scored 28 points when the Celtics beat the Nets 121-107 on Nov. 10 in Boston. The Celtics made 19 3-pointers in the latter win.

"We take it one game at a time," Tatum said. "We approach every game trying to get better regardless of who's out, who we're playing, 2 o'clock game, 7:30 game. We try to approach each game the same way."

--Field Level Media