The Brooklyn Nets traveled to TD Garden with just ten healthy bodies and the Boston Celtics took advantage of the shorthanded Nets.
- Brooklyn Nets 95 (20-22)
- Boston Celtics 116 (24-15)
- NBA, Final, Box Score
- TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts
There wasn’t much to see from the Brooklyn Nets in this blowout loss to the Boston Celtics. They shot just 26.2 percent from deep, and tallied 23 turnovers.
Rodions Kurucs matched his career-high with 24 points, while D’Angelo Russell had his worst game this season. The Nets starting point guard had more turnovers (six) than points (five).
Boston shot 50 percent from the field and put on a passing clinic with 37 assists. Each of the Celtics starting five scored in double digits, but Kyrie Irving led the way with 17 points and six assists.
Aside from Kurucs career-night, you could insert almost everything else about this game under the bad column.
Brooklyn embodied everything it means to be an injured team on the second night of a back-to-back. The defense lost its spark after the first quarter, and the offense never seemed to find its stride.
Nights like these are prime opportunities for D’Angelo Russell to establish his growth, and he failed to do so. You can debate whether or not he was in a position to succeed, but regardless, the Celtics kept him locked up defensively all night long. His six turnovers come second only to his eight-turnover night in a November loss to the Grizzlies.
Shabazz Napier earned his first start as a Net this season and he was underwhelming, to say the least. He failed to connect with teammates on passes in multiple occasions in just the first quarter, tallying five turnovers on the night. Napier finished with just 10 points on 4-for-12 shooting from the field.
When you ignore the struggling backcourt and Brooklyn’s overall sluggish play, there are some silver linings.
Kurucs’ career-night is the real story of tonight’s game, as he scored his 24 points on 5-8 shooting from deep. His second 20-point game puts him ahead of the entire class of second-round picks from his draft in such games:
.@RODIONS1 has his second 20-point game of the season tonight.
That's twice as many as the rest of the 2018 NBA Draft second round combined. pic.twitter.com/wpHfa9N5FB
— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) January 8, 2019
Brooklyn’s depleted lineup made way for guys who don’t usually see regular minutes.
All ten bodies touched the court, with extended minutes for big man Kenneth Faried, forward Treveon Graham, Shabazz Napier, and two-way player Theo Pinson.
Giving guys some run never hurts on a night that’s almost a guaranteed loss, and of course helps to keep your available starters conditioned appropriately.
But more importantly, for contracts like Faried’s who could develop into a potential trade piece, it’s an audition tape. The big man finished with his first double-double in a Brooklyn uniform, scoring 13 points and grabbing 12 rebounds.
Napier had a rough start as previously mentioned, Graham didn’t do much to help Brooklyn, and Pinson scored just one bucket in 15 minutes.
But those guys have a better look at what playing extended minutes with this team looks like, better preparing them for any similar situations in the future.
Overall, a tired and injured Brooklyn team lost to a (very good) Boston team who’s now won three straight.
But hey, at least they’ll have until Wednesday to play their next game, and it’s at home hosting the lowly Atlanta Hawks.