Brooklyn Nets 2018-19 Primer: Boston Celtics optimism not unfounded

Brooklyn Nets Kyrie Irving (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Brooklyn Nets Kyrie Irving (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /
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Brooklyn Nets
NEW YORK, NY – NOVEMBER 14: Al Horford #42 of the Boston Celtics shoots the ball against Jarrett Allen #31 of the Brooklyn Nets during the first half of the NBA game at Barclays Center on November 14, 2017 in the Brooklyn Borough of New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Matteo Marchi/Getty Images) /

Against the Brooklyn Nets

The Boston Celtics had the Brooklyn Nets’ number in 2017-18, winning all four meetings between the long-time Atlantic Division combatants. Three of the games were close before the Celtics closed the regular season with a 13-point win at TD Garden in Boston.

Defense was the order of the day for the Celtics, who held the Nets to just 97.3 points per game in the four meetings, well below Brooklyn’s season average of 106.6.

Last season (home team in CAPS)
Nov. 14: Celtics 109, NETS 102
Dec. 31: CELTICS 108, Nets 105
Jan. 6: Celtics 87, NETS 85
April 11: CELTICS 110, Nets 97

This season
Jan. 7: at Boston
Jan. 14: at Brooklyn
Jan. 28: at Boston
March 30: at Brooklyn

The Nets had trouble getting their offense flowing against the Celtics last season, often forced into contested shots late in the clock, which puts the team’s .397/.296/.781 slash line into perspective.

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  • Brooklyn was also outrebounded by an average of 4.5 boards per game, while Boston was able to shoot .441/.333/.707 in the four games.

    Kyrie Irving played the first three times the teams met and torched the Nets for an average of 24.7 points per game. Al Horford had 21 rebounds in the two games he played against Brooklyn and rookie Guerschon Yabusele had his only double-figure game of the season in Game No. 82.

    Yabusele started the game, one of just four starts all season, and finished with 16 points, five rebounds and two steals in 28 minutes, hitting 6-of-10 from the floor.

    As was typical for the Nets in 2017-18, they were prone to being bullied inside, even by marginal players. To wit, Aron Baynes averaged 10.3 points and 8.0 rebounds in four games against Brooklyn, including 15 offensive boards..

    For the Nets, Spencer Dinwiddie and Caris LeVert each played three times against Boston and averaged 14.0 points apiece. Joe Harris also played in three of the meetings and made 15-of-30 from the field.

    Allen Crabbe scored 52 points in four games against the Celtics, shooting an odd-looking .340/.389/6-for-7, as he was 14-for-36 from deep, but made only 2-of-11 inside the arc.

    Rondae Hollis-Jefferson also had trouble finding the range, averaging 11.5 points in four games, but shooting just .370/0-for-5/6-for-11.

    On the other hand, these results are not unexpected when one team wins 55 games in a season and the other loses 54.

    Brooklyn added rebounding help in Ed Davis and Kenneth Faried, who should also help the interior defense from being as porous as it was a season ago.