The Brooklyn Nets returned home on Friday night to take on the second-seeded Boston Celtics in an Atlantic Division matchup. In a tight game, Brooklyn could not come out on top, losing 98-95.
After winning two games in a week against their crosstown-rival New York Knicks, the Brooklyn Nets were looking to win back-to-back games for the first time this season in the tail-end of their back-to-back set against the Boston Celtics. Meanwhile, the Celtics came into Barclays on a two-game winning streak after overcoming the Chicago Bulls and Minnesota Timberwolves in earlier matchups this week.
The game opened up with a set of three-pointers, with Marcus Smart, Randy Foye, and Brook Lopez each knocking down one. A pair of dimes from Jeremy Lin to Lopez and a Rondae Hollis-Jefferson slam dunk brought the Nets to a 12-7 lead. Turnovers and continual missed shots for the Nets led to an 11-0 Celtics run, as the Nets went scoreless for over five minutes in the latter portion of the first. They trailed 21-16 after one quarter.
K.J. McDaniels and Andrew Nicholson saw some time on the court early on, with the duo of recent Nets acquisitions partaking in Brooklyn’s late first quarter and early second quarter production. Both teams struggled to score in the second, and the pace of the game quickly slowed down.
Still, the Celtics, led by Avery Bradley‘s 11 first half points, managed to pull to a 45-37 advantage entering halftime. Boston was shooting just 36.4 percent from the field, while Brooklyn was shooting 28.6 percent.
The Nets came out hot in the second half, with Lopez scoring the first five points. Brooklyn would take the lead only a minute later, after Lin canned a trey to cap off a 10-2 Nets run. The Celtics countered with an 11-1 run of their own, with Jae Crowder leading the way. Boston led 71-65 with 12 minutes of action remaining.
Brooklyn had an electric start to the final quarter, with three unanswered baskets from behind the arc to gain a 74-71 advantage. The score remained close up until the three-minute mark, with both teams countering one another in a three-point showdown.
With 2:52 remaining, Crowder aggressively drove to the basket and put home a one-handed jam, while also being fouled by Spencer Dinwiddie. Crowder completed the three-point play, bringing Boston’s lead to 91-85. With time running out, Brooklyn desperately needed stops, and two Lopez floaters kept the Nets within striking distance, trailing 93-89.
Boston turned the ball over on the following possession off a 24-second shot clock violation, giving the Nets an opportunity to make it a one-possession game. Dinwiddie was fouled on an erratic spin move to the basket, and he hit both free throws to bring the Nets within two, 93-91.
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After a pair of free throws by Marcus Smart, the Celtics went up by four, 95-91. Lin answered back with a tough shot off the glass, and with 16.5 seconds left, the Nets trailed 95-91. The Nets continued to fight in the final seconds, as Foye converted on a layup with 10.4 seconds remaining to once again bring the Nets within two points.
With 9.1 seconds to go, after Bradley knocked down one of two free throws, Brooklyn was down by three. Lopez and Quincy Acy hoisted good looks from downtown, but could not get them to fall down. The Nets finished just a hair short against the Celtics, 98-95, and still have yet to win back-to-back games this season.
The Nets fall to 13-55 on the season with this loss. They will continue their home stand against the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday.