Celtics dominate Nets in fourth quarter as Ben Simmons finishes scoreless


BROOKLYN — The Celtics and Nets entered an essential tiebreaker recreation attempting to mildly reinvent themselves with Jaylen Brown and Kevin Durant dealing with brief and long-term accidents. The Celtics’ method wouldn’t change a lot, solely involving deeper rotations to Payton Pritchard and small-ball lineups. Jacque Vaughn imagined bigger modifications for his Nets, alterations to their defensive scheme and placing Ben Simmons on the level of assault.

Boston’s spacing and passing persevered, and the Celtics scored a powerful 109-98 win over a group that took the paint away, compelled troublesome reads and peppered the Celtics with transition runouts. The Celtics tightened up after halftime and held the Nets to 38% taking pictures by means of the buzzer, together with a 9-for-24 night time from Kyrie Irving.

“Our half court docket protection was nice your entire night time,” Joe Mazzulla mentioned. “We talked so much about, towards this group, the sport’s related. The protection begins with managing your offense, due to how properly they guard. They get out in transition and create cross matches with Simmons, and so I felt like our half court docket offense was nice for almost all of the sport, and within the fourth quarter, we managed the sport offensively, we obtained nice appears, we had good spacing and it saved them out of transition for almost all of the time.”

Brooklyn noticed early returns breaking out to a 19-14 lead. Simmons performed the again line defensively, enjoying away from Robert Williams III and Luke Kornet whereas Al Horford sat. He tipped an early Marcus Good cross try and compelled an ungainly Williams III kick-out on a degree clean look. Derrick White, Kornet and Williams III scored all of the Celtics’ factors halfway by means of the quarter whereas Brooklyn’s dimension took the paint away.

Good and Tatum nonetheless managed to generate a number of with out getting their very own photographs off to maintain the sport shut. Good served eight assists within the first half, getting Kornet a 3 and main Grant Williams downhill for a pair of baskets to maintain tempo with a sprinting Nets offense. Grant left the court docket fired up after Tatum’s three tied the sport at 23, and Mazzulla calmed him down because the Celtics stayed composed anticipating numerous Nets runs. They wanted to keep away from complaining, too, after a number of troublesome calls pissed off them.

“I believed simply touching the paint and kicking the ball out (opened the paint),” Brogdon informed CLNS Media/CelticsBlog post-game. “Getting them to unfold out a bit of extra, so on the finish of the shot clock, we had been in a position to get layups, dunks and even open threes.”

Simmons opened up the Internet’s ground recreation by discovering Yuta Watanabe operating for 2 factors and faked a set earlier than making a fast outlet cross to Joe Harris for 3. Brooklyn led, 31-29, into the second quarter, the place Boston’s bench wanted to outlive with out Tatum.

Sam Hauser, Payton Pritchard checked in with Malcolm Brogdon to run small ball and so they held the road, staying behind by two factors after an 8-0 run from White, Hauser and Pritchard after the Celtics swung a sequence of passes to seek out him for 3 within the nook. Tatum returned reverse of Simmons, who prevented him from reaching the basket after discovering a change on Seth Curry. Simmons blocked Brogdon, who really tried to assault and despatched Warren out on the run for a transition bucket for a 50-44 lead.

“The best way they play, they’re very collectively, defensively and offensively,” Simmons mentioned. “I don’t suppose it’s, they’ve some nice people, however if you put it collectively, they play play group basketball. They know their roles, they play group basketball, they’re very constant.”

The Celtics largely held Irving in verify, although, who pressed to get his shot off regardless of Vaughn not wanting so as to add extra on his plate than traditional. Warren relieved the burden with 20 factors, however stopped the ball, whereas Simmons saved it transferring. He didn’t rating in 26 minutes. Tatum — who shot 7-for-22 — completed the primary half catching a full-court bounce cross from Good, pulling up for 2 over Watanabe and forcing a three-point foul on Warren shortly earlier than the buzzer. He admitted to a number of hand accidents bothering him. The Celtics scrapped to a 60-57 lead at halftime.

Good saved the ball bouncing across the half court docket to take care of a slender lead into the second half. Tatum caught and completed a 3 whereas one other make by White obtained cancelled out, however Good’s exercise drew an emphatic excessive 5 from Boston’s star.

He chased offensive rebounds, however the Nets took benefit of that new layer to the Celtics offense by discovering Claxton and Harris for transition buckets to seize a lead halfway by means of the third. Watanabe and Irving hit threes, whereas Claxton floated within the lane to dam Tatum after he beat Watanabe off the dribble.

The bench had one other enhance in it between quarters although. Brogdon scored 5 straight factors on soar photographs to reestablish Boston’s lead. Grant hit 4 straight free throws and blocked an Irving jumper. Good, serving to on Pritchard on the baseline guarding Warren, compelled a miss and Pritchard ran out for a layup earlier than the Celtics escaped one other quarter with a lead.

Brogdon and Pritchard prolonged that result in eight early within the fourth, Brogdon with a pair of layups and Pritchard by slicing dribbles into the lane and pulling up for 2 photographs that despatched the Celtics’ bench throughout half court docket into timeout.

“(Pritchard) is so skilled and he does all the correct issues to remain prepared when his quantity’s referred to as, he will get in there and does what he’s speculated to do,” Good mentioned. “Payton is a really skilled man, he is available in day by day and works like he’s a rookie. Whenever you’ve obtained a man like that, his time’s gonna come … I’m continuously speaking to Payton day by day, and as unhealthy as it could sound, it’s the reality and actuality, and we’ve obtained to reside within the actuality that, you’re not enjoying on this group, you’re not getting the moments you need and also you suppose you deserve, which you do, as a result of we’re so stacked, however there’s 29 different groups watching. They perceive your state of affairs. They wish to see the way you deal with this.”

Simmons, rolling with a lane to the rim off Irving, threw a cross off of Claxton earlier than lacking one other layup on the subsequent possession to complete 0-for-3. Good discovered Kornet on an alley-oop for a reverse end that pushed Boston’s result in double digits, and Tatum prolonged the result in 13 factors with an and-one end by means of Tatum. Williams III completed with 29 minutes, stretching to a different benchmark since his return to shut the win.

The Celtics now transfer on to Charlotte for a two-game mini sequence the place they’ll possible stay with out Brown.



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