The Boston Celtics torched every net in front of them Wednesday night.
Those both of twine and human variety.
No matter which type of net stood in front of Boston, it was burnt to a crisp by the team’s historically hot scoring.
The Celtics tied for their highest-scoring quarter in the last 30 years by dropping 46 on the visiting Brooklyn Nets during Wednesday’s opening frame. The hosts teetered on offensive perfection from the opening tip, as they splashed home their first eight 3-pointers of the night and shot 62.1 percent overall during the first quarter.
That near-perfection carried through all the way to the end of the third quarter, when Boston led 110-72, and each team pulled its starters from the game.
“I like the way we came out,” said Jayson Tatum, who scored a game-high 31 points in only 29 minutes. “Obviously we shot the ball well, but it’s our attention to the game plan and playing the right way. You could tell we were ready to go from the jump.”
That mindset carried through to the final buzzer. Boston’s reserves did their best to keep pace with the tone their starters had set. The bench came in and shot 50 percent during the fourth quarter while adding six 3-pointers to the team’s total. That gave the Celtics 26 made 3s on the night, which set a new record for the most made in a game by any team inside TD Garden.
“I thought we chose to be aggressive on both ends of the floor,” interim head coach Joe Mazzulla said of the dominant performance. “So we weren’t reactive; we were proactive just in our approach to both ends.”
That’s exactly what Mazzulla wanted to see following Boston’s three off days heading into Wednesday’s contest. The first two days were used as rest days, but the third, Tuesday, was dedicated to sharpening the team’s play at both ends. And boy, did that sharpening session work.
“It was great carryover from yesterday’s practice to the game today as far as what we emphasized,” Mazzulla said.
Pressed further to reveal what, exactly, the team emphasized Tuesday and then executed Wednesday, the coach shared a bit more detail.
“Offensively, our spacing in the first six to eight seconds (of the shot clock) was very, very good,” he said. “We had great purpose in our early offensive reads, understanding where the matchup was and what we wanted to get into. And we had great spacing in the last 12 seconds of the shot clock … Defensively, we were just proactive. We were aggressive.”
Brooklyn had no answers for that aggression at any stage of the game. This was a blowout from start to finish, and one which featured a long list of strong performances by Celtics players.
Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown combined for 57 points after each shot 7-for-12 from long distance. Derrick White and Malcolm Brogdon combined for 26 of their own on 10-for-17 shooting. Reserve center Luke Kornet even got in on the mix, scoring 12 points during only 18-plus minutes of action.
It was starting center Robert Williams, however, who unlocked the greatness of Boston’s offense.
Williams returned from a one-game absence to put forth a masterful performance that consisted of a season-high 16 points to go along with nine rebounds and a blocked shot. It was his presence and activity, both in the pick-and-roll and on the glass, that turned the Celtics into an unstoppable force.
“He created gaps. He created small 2-on-1s,” Mazzulla said of Williams. “He did a great job against smalls on the offensive glass.”
Williams, in other words, is the one who created many of the open looks the Celtics got throughout the night. Then they made them – lots of them – as they torched every net on the court.