The Celtics survived a late Nets rally at the end of the game to get their first win of the season by a score of 122-117. Things looked great early on for the Celtics and it looked like they were going to runaway with the game, however the Nets had other plans in the fourth quarter.
Right from the tipoff you could feel the energy in the arena as the Celtics fans were giddy for the season to start and they were not disappointed. The Celtics and Nets went back and forth at each other in the first quarter trading buckets. Al Horford immediately hit the first shot he attempted which was a beautiful three pointer and the ball movement on offense for the Celts was poetry in motion.
The second quarter was much of the same as both teams continued to hit open shots. Boston had some trouble in containing the Nets shooters on the three point line, especially Justin Hamilton and Joe Harris. Fortunately for the Celtics, the Nets had even more trouble keeping up with them on offense and the bench unit of Jonas Jerebko, Gerald Green, Jaylen Brown, Terry Rozier, and Tyler Zeller had a lot to do with that. Rozier looked much more comfortable handling the ball and both Green and Brown played tremendous defense on the perimeter. Boston led Brooklyn going into the half 64-58. Isaiah Thomas led all first half scorers with 11 points and 7 assists
Coming out of the half, it's obvious that coach Brad Stevens stressed the importance of forcing the Nets to turn the ball over and the Celts turned up the heat on defense. Jae Crowder had 11 points in the quarter and Isaiah Thomas started to heat up as well which opened the door up for the defense to overwhelm the Nets. I can't express how fluid and beautiful the ball movement was to watch for the Green team, especially when Horford handles the ball. He looked like a guard at times with how precise his passing was. By the end of the quarter the Celts had a 97-81 lead and the game was out of hand.
Boston sat its starters and the fourth quarter looked like it was going to be full of garbage time, and it was early on. However, the Nets made a 17-4 run at the end of the fourth that made it an 8 point game which forced Stevens to put the starters back into the game. The Nets cut it to 6 with just over a minute to go after a Trevor Booker dunk. After a Boston turnover, Bojan Bogdanovic hit a three to cut it to a 120-117 lead with 46 seconds left. Thomas turned the ball over again for the Cs and with a chance to tie it, Hamilton couldn't hit the three to tie it up. Isaiah hit two free throws that sealed the deal and the Green escaped with a win.
Isaiah Thomas led the way for the team with 25 points, 6 rebounds and 9 assists. Al Horford was a jack of all trades in his debut with 11 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists and 4 blocks. Jae Crowder also had 21 points on 9-15 shooting and Avery Bradley chipped in with 17 points, 9 rebounds and 5 assists. Tyler Zeller had 13 points off the bench as well. For the Nets, Bojan Bogdanovic led the way with 21 points. Justin Hamilton had 19 points and 10 rebounds off the bench for Brooklyn while Jeremy Lin contributed 18 points in his debut.
The Celtics now head to Chicago for a matchup with the Bulls tomorrow night on national TV on TNT. Tipoff is at 8:00pm E/T.
Image Credit: Boston Celtics Twitter/Getty Images
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