It got interesting late, but it was too high a mountain for the Celtics to climb.

The Nets defeated the Celtics, 123-104, at TD Garden to a sold-out crowd of 19,156 on Thanksgiving Eve. With the win, Brooklyn improves their best record in the Eastern Conference to 14-5 (two game lead) and adds another win to their best road record in the league: 8-2.

“I just like how we’ve stuck to the game plan,” said Kevin Durant of the win’s biggest takeaway. “We discussed this morning how we are going to monitor this team during shootarounds. The transfer was something we are all proud of. It really is; conveying what you learn in training sessions and shootarounds and trying to perform in the games. I think tonight was one of those nights when we took a step in the right direction.”

Patty Mills was in FIBA ​​Patty mode. He continued his historic 3-point shooting with another great sniper show of 23 points on 8-of-12 shooting overall and 7-of-10 from deep in 33 minutes.

“Patty has been incredible for us tonight and has been so great for us this year,” Steve Nash said of Mills. “His spirit is incredible. His IQ and experience are great too, and just shooting shots is the guiding principle. He does so many things for us that tie the whole thing together.”

The veteran guard has now drilled seven or more threes in a match for the third time this season – Mills only hit seven or more threes in a match in his first 12 seasons combined. For the season he has drilled threes at 50.4 percent and in the absence of Joe Harris he is at 54.5 percent. No more worries about finding warm clothes. It’s hot enough, the owner noted…

“Get started, I think. I don’t think there’s more to it than that,” said Mills during his red-hot shot from three-point range. “Understanding what it takes from me: staying ready, being ready and knowing that the ball will come flying at me at some point. I think if you stay aggressive with an aggressive mindset at the end of the day, Kevin and James loosen up. That doesn’t just apply to me. That goes for everyone down the line.”

Brooklyn finished in double figures with five players. Kevin Durant scored 21 points, provided eight assists and four rebounds in 37 minutes, followed by James Harden with 20 points, 11 assists and seven rebounds in 36 minutes. LaMarcus Aldridge, who started his first season this season, finished with 17 points and nine boards in 29.

Cam Thomas had another great game from the bench with 13 points on 4-for-11 shooting from the field, to go with three rebounds and three assists in 25 minutes from the bench. He was 0-of-6 from deep. DeAndre’ Bembry had another strong defensive play with 10 rebounds, three steals and a block to go with nine points in 26 minutes.

“One thing about Cam, however, is that he was given the ultimate green light and confidence. I’ve seen it in some guys who are actually going to do it. It’s impressive,” James Harden says of Thomas. “He’s finishing his ass. He goes to the G League, comes back and is very professional.”

Nets’ scorching attack ended the blowout, shooting 50.6 percent from the field and 40.0 percent from the depth. Only 76.7 percent of the line prevented Brooklyn from going 50/40/90.

“I thought our defense was strong and I thought I’d leave early and play; those are the two things we’re really trying to build on,” said Nash. “What we asked them defensively, they executed from the start. and that allows us to play on an open floor. Played with pace and as I keep saying play in a defense that is in transition, not set and looking at us. Those are probably the biggest takeaways.”

Brooklyn went with Aldridge at the 5 to pair up with Harden, Mills, Durant and DeAndre’ Bembry to start the match. Nash focused on his players starting the game strongly and his players performing behind Mills’ play, who drove three three-pointers in the opening four minutes of the game to give Brooklyn an early 12-5 lead.

“We just have to look at other things. I think it has accelerated our pace. LA isn’t necessarily the fastest man on the floor, but we played with pace and played with ideas,” added Nash. “We didn’t stand still, we moved the ball and I thought we defended well.”

The Celtics made a comeback without Jayson Tatum or Jaylen Brown on the floor. Boston was sharp with their passes and the cutters took advantage of the space opened up by the Nets defense to narrow the deficit to 24-18 with 2:34 remaining. The Nets finished the first period with a seven point lead (29-22), led by Durant with 10 points in 12 minutes, followed by Mills with nine points. Thomas provided a small spark with four points in seven minutes from the bench.

The attack caught fire early from behind the arch in the second. Brooklyn forged an 11-3 run in the first two minutes to build their advantage to 40-25. Boston responded with a short 7-2 run to narrow the deficit to nine, but that was the closest the Celtics came to the picture.

On the defense side, Boston simply couldn’t find an answer to shrink the floor, leaving the Nets open-minded and capitalizing. Thomas served as a catalyst in the frame. He warmed up on both sides, scored four points and made a shot at the defending side to finish the half with eight points off the bench.

Durant and Mills led Brooklyn by 12 points each at the break (62-49), while Harden recorded a quiet seven points, five assists and one board in 18 minutes. Overall, the Nets shot 48.8 percent from the field and 57.1 percent from the three-point range. Outside of their strong shooting, Brooklyn provided 16 assists on their 20 shots and Boston bounced back 23-22.

Brooklyn Nets - Boston Celtics

Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images

It was the Brooklyn Way in third driven by dominance.

The Celtics soon found themselves in a bigger hole in the opening minutes of the third, trailing 21 points after an 11-3 run from Brooklyn, adding further frustration at the no-calls that kept brewing. Shots kept falling constantly as Brooklyn pushed their distance and Boston failed to narrow the floor on offense and Nets’ defense restricted the Celtics’ ball movement. The Nets increased their lead to 29 with five minutes left in the frame and when the quarter buzzer sounded Brooklyn had an impressive 97-76 five-player advantage in double digits – Aldridge (17), Mills (17), Durant (16) , Harden (15) and Thomas (11).

And then the script turned and the intensity of the Celtics increased. Boston stormed back and forged a 17-0 run (carried from third) to narrow the big deficit to 14 points with nine minutes left, leading to Nash bringing Durant back into the game. The Celtics hung around and cut the nets’ lead to 13 with 5:28 to go, but that was as close as they finally got.

Brooklyn didn’t fall behind once throughout the game. The Nets have now won four consecutive wins, seven of their last eight and twelve of their last fourteen. They are 8-2 on the road, the franchise’s best record in their first 10 road races of a season in franchise history. It is also the most road wins in the NBA this season.

Marcus Smart led the Celtics by 20 points in 36 minutes, followed by Jayson Tatum with 15 points on 4-for-16 shooting from the field and 1-for-9 from three in 30 minutes. Overall, the Nets kept the Celtics duo of Jaylen Brown and Tatum shooting to 12-of-31.

“We came back and got organized. Defensively, we were in good assist positions and we were physical,” said Nash of the Celtics’ poor shooting rates. “It shows the important features of our defense, especially in the first half.”

With the loss, Boston drops to 10-9 of the season. The loss ended their best stretch of the young season, a three-game winning streak.

milestone watch

With his first basket of the game, Kevin Durant reached the top 25 NBA scores. Durant (24,369 points) passed Allen Iverson (24,368 points). Next one? Ray Allen (24,505).

“It means the world. I devoted my life to this game at a young age so I’ve been watching all these guys and I’m happy to give up [on the list]. I wanted to be like them and play in the NBA like that and make an impact in the league like them, so Iverson was a pantheon for me,” Durant said as he passed Iverson on the league’s all-time scorers list.

“One of those guys I followed every time I went out to play with my friends. It’s all surreal. I imagined being in the league and having an idea, but to do it is best special.”

Durant, a resident of Prince George’s County outside Washington, said it was particularly moving because he had seen Iverson during his one year in Georgetown.

“Obviously I became a big Iverson fan, just like everyone else in his rookie year. But seeing him in Georgetown and playing for coach [John] Thompson and this whole culture that they built there, he was a big part of that,” Durant said. “But once he got into the league, he had players… I was a centre, power forward in my young team, and we were all crossing and double crossing for a long time. He influenced a lot of people.

“So to pass him on the list and to be there with some of the greats on that list is unbelievable. I just have to keep going.”

Clara Wu Tsai talks about community

In the first of a two-part interview with Michael Grady of YES Network, Nets co-owner Clara Wu Tsai spoke mainly about her life and how she and her husband Joe hope to help improve the Brooklyn community. She described her role at Nets as “partners” with her husband. “We complement that relationship,” she said, noting that the two met on a blind date in New York.

In addition to talking about the Brooklyn Social Justice Fund, funded with a $50 million grant from the Joe and Clara Wu Tsai, the Kansas native spoke about the genesis of the latest artwork in Barclays Center plaza. Wu Tsai said the point of “We Belong Here/You Belong Here” neon sculptures is to “commemorate” the demonstrations that took place after George Floyd’s murder, as part of “society and community growth”.

Here’s the full interview…

The second part of the interview will air this Saturday (7:00 PM ET) on YES’ Nets’ pre-game show.

As Sponge Bob would say…

What’s next

The Nets will host the Suns at Barclays Center on Saturday, November 27. The game is scheduled to tip at 7:30 p.m. ET.

“We can continue to build on this. We’ll go back home and get the Suns. We all know how they play,” said James Harden. “It’s going to be another great test for us and we just have to keep going to get better, keep growing, find things that work, find things that don’t work on both sides and keep pushing.”

For a different perspective, check out CelticsBlog – our sister site about the Celtics.


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