It’s going to be a long season for Celtics fans for two reasons if what we saw Friday night was an indication of what’s to come:
1) The Celtics offense may be competing with the Patriots for the worst offense among Boston teams.
2) Kevin Durant looks like he’s back.
The Celtics offense has real issues right now and no reasonable person can believe they will be corrected by Wednesday night before the season opener against Milwaukee.
“I felt like we missed some open ones but at the same time I thought they played with purpose.” Brad Stevens said after the game.
Not only did Brooklyn shoot much better in the game, the Nets assisted on 12 percent more of their buckets than the Celtics did.
“Sometimes the ball goes in when you are playing with that kind of intent and purpose,” Stevens added.
The Celtics shot 34 percent from the field and 17 percent from deep. Awful. Boston is dead last in preseason play in field goal percentage at 38.9 percent, dead last in 3-point shooting at 22 percent (ahead of the next team by 7 whole percentage points) and 25th in turnovers per game.
Want one more stat to bring you down? The Celtics net rating in these two preseason games is -14.4. To put that in context, the worst team in the NBA last season, the Golden State Warriors, turned in a -8.8 net rating.
The Nets buried the Celtics in the third quarter Friday night. It was 65-56 with 9:31 to go. Brooklyn flipped the switch offensively while Boston shut down completely. The Nets went on a 27-4 run.
Durant, Kyrie and even Caris Levert are going to score no matter what defensive coverage you throw at them. But this Celtics offense from 9:31 to the end of the quarter was just miserable:
● 65-56 ... Tatum missed 3PT
● 67-56 ... Theis missed 3PT
● 67-56 ... Theis TO
● 69-56 ... Jaylen TO
● 69-56 ... Theis layup blocked
● 72-58 ... Jaylen MADE 2PT
● 72-58 ... Grant Williams missed 3PT
● 72-58 ... Tatum missed 3PT
● 74-58 ... Tatum TO
● 74-58 ... Jaylen missed 3PT
● 74-58 ... Grant Williams TO
● 74-58 ... Tatum missed layup
● 74-60 ... Timelord OREB + DUNK
● 76-60 ... Smart missed jumper
● 76-60 ... Grant Williams missed 3PT
● **3:36 -- Platoon sub, Celtics starters out, 76-60 Nets lead**
● 76-60 ... Pritchard TO
● 78-60 ... Teague missed floater
● 80-60 ... Grant Williams 6 footer blocked by Durant
● 80-60 ... Pritchard missed 3PT
● 82-60 ... Grant Williams missed 17 footer
● 85-60 ... Teague missed 16 footer
● 88-60 ... Grant Williams missed 3PT
● 90-60 ... Nesmith TO
● 92-60 ... Pritchard TO
● END OF THE QUARTER -- 92-60, Nets lead
And that’s how a nine-point game turns to a 32-point lead in 9:31. Boston had no answer and the game got out of hand quickly.
Durant had 11 of his game high 25 points in the quarter. The Celtics only had two players break double digits for the game.
If Durant can remain healthy, this Brooklyn team is without a doubt better than Boston and should compete with Milwaukee for the top seed in the conference.
Despite the blowout, there was a bright spot: Tremont Waters.
“I did think our last group did a good job, specifically orchestrated by Tremont,” Stevens said, unprompted, of the second year point guard. “I thought he was very good, really in both games at getting us organized. We can take something from how he’s led us.”
The Celtics have just a handful of days before hosting the Milwaukee Bucks in the opener Dec. 23.
Leftover from the notebook:
● Joe Harris of the Nets is what you hope Aaron Nesmith can turn out to be
● Jeff Teague is the best preseason shooter of all time
● Payton Pritchard struggled with his shot but kept firing
● Tatum and Brown continue to struggle with their shot from 3. Jaylen is missing everything short
● I bet no one knew Amile Jefferson was even on the roster
● Tristan Thompson hasn’t played yet but was seen off the bench in the ref’s ear in an attempt to get a call after Aaron Nesmith flopped on a 3-point shot
● “We’re going to rotate that spot,” said Stevens on his decision to start Javonte Green before Tuesday night’s game against the Sixers. My question: why did he start again tonight? What’s the point?