Celtics Beat Jet-Lagged Nets

The Boston Celtics beat the Nets 95-90 on Sunday afternoon at Barclays Center in the Nets’ first game home after their China trip.

The game was 44 minutes long, four 11-minute quarters. There were also two less timeouts, the third mandatory one in the second and fourth quarters. This experiment was done to examine the flow of a shorter game compared to the standard 48-minute game.

The Nets were led by the “JJs,” Jarrett Jack and Jerome Jordan, who each had 17 points. Jack was 7-for-12 from the field, and 1-for-2 on three-pointers, in 19 minutes at point guard. Jordan, a center, saw a lot of time because of the injuries to Brook Lopez and Kevin Garnett. Jordan played 23 minutes and was a perfect 7-for-7 from the field with 6 rebounds.

Nets Head Coach Lionel Hollins said of Jordan, “Jerome who? I thought that was Kareem Abdul-Jabbar out there. No, Jerome was great. He was really good. I like the kid. I’ve had him before and I’m pulling for him, but he’s gotta earn it. He made a step in that direction tonight. He did what we asked, he scored more than we expected, but he was trying to guard the basket and had a couple blocked shots. He played decent.”

Deron Williams led the starters with 16 points (5-9 FG, 1-2 on threes), 4 assists, and 3 rebounds. Joe Johnson had 7 points (2-8 FG, 1-2 on threes, 5 rebounds, and an assist. Bojan Bogdanovic had 4 points (1-5 FG, 0-3 on threes), 3 rebounds, and no assists. Mason Plumlee was starting at center because Brook Lopez was out with a foot injury and Kevin Garnett (who would have slid over from power forward to center) was out with a stomach virus. Plumlee had 6 points (3-5 FG) and 4 rebounds. Mirza Teletovic rounded out the starting five, and he had 3 points on a tough 1-for-9 from the field and 1-4 from behind the arc, with 6 rebounds and an assist.

The Nets started out strong, holding a 24-17 lead at the end of the first and led by as many as 17 in the second quarter, when they held a 40-23 edge with 4:45 left in the second. The Nets took a 51-40 lead into halftime.

In the third quarter, Boston chipped away at the Nets’ lead, led by Jeff Green, and were within a point, at 65-64, with 2:47 left. At that point, Boston brought in ex-Net Marcus Thornton, and he led the Celtics on a 9-0 run to close the third and take a 73-65 edge into the fourth. Overall, Boston outscored the Nets 33-14 in the third.

Celtics Head Coach Brad Stevens said of the third quarter, “We played with more purpose on both ends, and that mindset was much better. I didn’t think our mind set was good and then I think that the effects of their trip probably had something to do with how they shot. They missed some open shots in the third quarter, and those shots, after you get back. I have been to China and I have been back four and five days later, and it takes a week to get your legs back.”

Hollins spoke with Boston Head Coach Brad Stevens before the game, and I asked if that was the first time he met Stevens and what his impressions were of him, and he said, “Brad is a good guy. I admired him from afar when he was at Butler University – not just the way he coaches, but him as a person. I actually called him when he got the jobn and wished him well and told him he will have success because he has the ability to develop relationships.”

The Celtics had the advantage down low, as they got 20 second-chance points, compared to two for the Nets. Hollins said of that, “Well, you got to be tougher – that’s all. You gotta hit first. You know, you get pushed under the basket if you stand there and watch.”

Hollins said of the game, “Yeah, post-ups didn’t hurt us – it was offensive rebounds. We held them to 31 percent from the three. They shot nine for 29, but we gave up 20 offensive rebounds, 20 second-chance points. So, it was not a pretty picture out there from that perspective, but if we go back, I thought we did a nice job guarding them and continuing to battle on the glass in the first half. Third quarter seemed like we ran out of gas, and the energy started dropping and we started taking bad shots and turn the ball over. I think we had seven turnovers at halftime, and we had seven turnovers in the third quarter alone. And then we came out in the fourth quarter, put the young guys in and the energy went up. But, I thought we played our game and did what we wanted to do in the first half.”



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