The Brooklyn Nets closed out their 3-game road swing Monday with a 116-95 loss to the Boston Celtics and with just 10 healthy players available.
With a shortened bench and six players out, the Brooklyn Nets fell Monday night to the Boston Celtics 116-95, closing out a three-game, four-day road trip with a 2-1 record.
With the loss, the Nets (20-22) fell to eighth place in the Eastern Conference, a half-game behind the idle Charlotte Hornets (19-20) and are now a game in back of the Miami Heat (19-19), also idle on Momday, who hold sixth place.
Brooklyn remained a game ahead of the ninth-place Detroit Pistons (17-21), who lost 119-107 at home to the San Antonio Spurs Monday, and two games up on the Orlando Magic (17-23), who were blown out at Sacramento 111-95.
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Brooklyn jumped out to an early 12-4 lead after making their first four shots of the game — all from 3-point range — but the Celtics (24-15) quickly rebounded as the Nets turned the ball over 10 times in the first quarter and committed 23 turnovers in all, leading to 30 points for Boston.
The shooting also cooled off rapidly after the blazing start, as the Nets shot just 40.5 percent (32-for-79) overall and were a dreadful 11-for-42 (26.2 percent) from deep.
The long-range shooting looked worse when you factor in that everyone not named Rodions Kurucs went a combined 6-for-34.
The rotations were strange and the Nets’ timing was affected. Shabazz Napier started opposite D’Angelo Russell and the unfamiliar pairing combined for 11 turnovers — six by Russell and five by Napier — and all 10 players who saw action gave the ball up at least once.
This was a game that looked like what can be called a “schedule loss” when the NBA released the slate of 2018-19 games back in August. The Nets came in playing their third road game in four days and on a back-to-back.
The Celtics hadn’t played since Friday and had been home since Wednesday. Boston’s long weekend helped their depth, as Kyrie Irving, Marcus Morris and Robert Williams all returned from missing time with injuries.
No team will admit that it went into a game with less than 100 percent concern over the outcome, but sitting Harris and Carroll felt as much about not allowing a nagging problem to turn into a serious one and the Nets acknowledging the deck was stacked pretty highly against them.
Jared Dudley‘s post-game tweet sort of had that feel, as well.
He’s not wrong. The NBA regular-season is an 82-game, six-month slog and some nights just don’t stack up well.
Boston helped the process by posting 37 assists on 47 makes. The Celtics’ ball movement was outstanding and they did a good job of exploiting defenders who were playing spots they weren’t necessarily accustomed to.
It was Boston’s 10th consecutive win over Brooklyn and the Nets are now 0-9 against the Celtics under coach Kenny Atkinson. That’s not an indictment as much as simply a statement of fact —
Boston’s been to two straight conference finals. Brooklyn’s been someone else’s lottery team (thanks again, Billy King!!!) during that span.
The Nets return home for one game Wednesday against the Atlanta Hawks (12-27), who will be in Toronto on Tuesday before coming to Barclays Center on a road back-to-back. The scheduling shoe, as you see, does change feet in the NBA.
Here are the player grades from a bit of a write-off loss at Boston.