Irving Leads Nets Past Celtics As Regular Season Resumes


Final: 03/11/2021

W 121 109

The rust was evident early, but the Nets had enough weapons to get back to their winning ways.

Brooklyn opened its second half of the season with a 121-109 home victory over the Celtics on Thursday. The win is the Nets’ 11th in their last 12 games, for those keeping score.

It was not the prettiest victory for Brooklyn, who fell behind early thanks to sloppy defense and poor shooting. The Celtics built their lead as large as 11 in the first quarter as it took advantage of Nets turnovers — Boston scored 16 points off Brooklyn’s 14 giveaways.

Boston and Brooklyn traded runs throughout the night, particularly as the Celtics cut their deficit to as little as two with four minutes left. But Brooklyn’s All-Stars took turns closing out in the fourth quarter as the team stepped up defensively, limited mistakes and finished the game on a 13-3 run for the victory.

Kyrie Irving was the star and closer of the night for Brooklyn as he put up 40 points against his former team, with 14 of those coming in an explosive third quarter. The All-Star was one of five Nets in double figures as the team shot 47.7% from the field and 19-of-42 from three.

Brooklyn was also able to counter the Celtics’ punches in large part thanks to none other than Landry Shamet. The bench hero drained his first three three-pointers in the first quarter and finished with 18 points on the night in a key performance for the Nets.

The Nets used offensive outbursts in the second and fourth quarters to build their largest lead of the night (12) as the final result. The Celtics kept themselves in the game as Jayson Tatum poured it on with 31 points, but the Nets had more weapons and stepped up defensively when needed — highlighted by 18 points scored off 11 Boston turnovers.

Boston entered Brooklyn on a four-game winning streak with renewed health out of the All-Star break with Marcus Smart back in the lineup. Still, the shorthanded Nets — who were without Kevin Durant, TLC and Blake Griffin, to name a few — showed they have all-around leadership and talent to close out games against top teams. 

It took a bit to get reacclimated, but the Nets picked up where they left off before the All-Star break with another win. The 76ers stayed atop the East as they won, too, but Brooklyn continues to knock on their door. 

Next up: The Pistons on Saturday.

Kyrie Irving


The stats: 40 PTS, 15-23 FG, 5-8 3PT, 5-5 FT, 8 REB, 3 AST, 1 STL, 1 BLK, 3 TO, 34 MIN

Kyrie Irving was the personification of “midseason form” against the Celtics.

Whether on the perimeter or in the lane, Kyrie was a steady presence against his former team. His handles were working as he won his matchups throughout the night and stepped up as the closer.

Kyrie was a bit inconsistent with his efficiency before the All-Star break, and this performance is exactly what the Nets needed. He got whatever he wanted, and he closed out the Celtics for good with back-to-back three-pointers down the stretch. A clutch Kyrie is fun to watch and makes Brooklyn fans very happy. 

James Harden


The stats: 22 PTS, 6-16 FG, 1-8 3PT, 9-9 FT, 10 REB, 8 AST, 1 STL, 2 BLK, 7 TO, 38 MIN

It was not Harden’s best shooting night, but he stepped up when it mattered most.

It was a largely quiet night offensively for the Beard, but he came up with six fourth-quarter points to help keep Boston at bay. Though Harden struggled from three, his teammates stepped up in his stead, which is what makes Brooklyn successful.

Harden also contributed to the Nets’ early sloppiness with six first-half turnovers but gave the ball away just once in the second half. He fell just short of another triple-double, but he still had good control of the floor and let Kyrie do his thing when they shared the court. 

Landry Shamet


The stats: 18 PTS, 6-12 FG, 6-9 3PT, 4 REB, 2 AST, 32 MIN

Have a night, Landry. 

Landry was one of the main factors for Brooklyn not falling behind by more than 11 points in the first quarter. His first three three-pointers were money, and he stayed locked in throughout the night.

The Nets need Landry to be a threat if they want to keep winning, and he has stepped up as of late. Combined with Tyler Johnson and Jeff Green, Brooklyn got great contributions from the bench as it out-scored Boston’s 39-29.

Joe Harris


The stats: 12 PTS, 4-10 FG, 3-9 3PT, 1-2 FT, 3 REB, 1 STL, 1 BLK, 1 TO, 31 MIN

It took a while for Joe to get his shooting groove back, but never doubt Joey Buckets.

Joe fought to the end of the first half with a last-second bank shot and also helped seal the game with a steal that led to a Kyrie three-pointer. Even if his shot was off, his defense helped get much-needed stops down the stretch.

It was good to see Joe get his looks, even if they were not falling early. Shamet stepped up in Joe’s stead, and that balance is great to see. 

Jeff Green


The stats: 11 PTS, 3-8 FG, 2-4 3PT, 3-4 FT, 3 REB, 3 AST, 25 MIN

Jeff Green had a quiet night, but he still makes defenses pay.

Uncle Jeff was ready for his looks from three-point range and even added some assists. He continues to be a key weapon for the Nets whether he starts or comes off the bench. 

It will be interesting to see how Jeff’s minutes change when Blake Griffin starts playing, but both players give the Nets great versatility going forward. In the meantime, Jeff stepped up on defense and was a key part of the Nets’ runs throughout the night.