The Celtics continued their string of dominance over the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday, cruising to a 139-96 win.
Boston had total control from the opening tip, outscoring the Nets 46-16 in the first quarter. The C’s shot a ridiculous 18-of-29 (62.1%) from the field and 8-of-11 (72.7%) from three.
Led by Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, who combined for 30 points in the first quarter on 11-of-16 (68.7%) shooting, Boston would jump out to a 30-point first-quarter lead. It was the first time in team history that Boston outscored its opponent by 30 points in the first quarter, and it took them just nine minutes.
Tatum’s 18 first-quarter points were more than the Nets as a team. He finished the game with 31 points, notching his 29th 30-point game of the season, while Brown would pour in another 26. It marked the 27th game this season that the duo has each scored 25-plus points in the same game this season, which is the most by any duo prior to All-Star break ever. Tatum and Brown’s 57 combined points were more than the entire Nets starting lineup, who combined for just 55.
But even when the Jays went quiet in the second quarter, combining for just eight points, the Celtics, led by Derrick White, were able to outscore the Nets 33-29 and continued their hot shooting, as they shot 14-of-21 (66.7%) from the field.
Boston got major contributions from both White and Robert Williams. White recorded his second double-double of the season, finishing with 14 points and 10 rebounds, tying his career high. Williams finished with a season-high 16 points along with nine rebounds, five of which came on the offensive glass. Williams’ five offensive rebounds matched the Nets’ team total.
The Celtics finished the first half with 79 points, which is a new season high, and they were able to do it by scoring in different ways. The Celtics scored 36 points in the restricted area in the first half, adding another 39 from three.
It certainly helped that Boston was shooting the lights out. The Celtics finished the night shooting 53-of-92 (57.6%) from the field and 26-of-54 (48.1%) from three. Boston’s 26 made threes set a new TD Garden record.
The Celtics looked like a team coming off three days of rest, as their pace and their play in transition was no match for the Nets.
“We were ready to play today,” Tatum said postgame. “Three days off, we were fresh, mentally fresh, and we just had a sense of purpose.”
Though the offense was incredible, the defense from Boston should not be overlooked. The Celtics’ defense has had Brooklyn’s number all season and Wednesday night was no different, as the Celtics held Brooklyn under 100 points for the third time this season.
It was also a fun night for Celtics fans, as Kyrie Irving finished with a game-worst minus-31 plus/minus. At the other end of the spectrum, Tatum was a game-best plus-46. It came four years to the day that Irving muttered his infamous “Ask me July first” comments in regards to re-signing with the Celtics.
That was the first time Irving seemed to have switched up on wanting to re-sign with the Celtics. Fast forward exactly four years to the day, the Celtics, who swept Irving and his Nets in the postseason just a season ago, would get the better of Irving and his Nets for the 10th consecutive time, running them off the court with a 139-96 win.