Celtics Fall Flat Against the Lowly Nets in Brooklyn
NEW YORK –(AP) Brook Lopez had 23 points and 10 rebounds, Jarrett Jack scored 13 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter and the Brooklyn Nets beat the Boston Celtics 111-101 on Sunday for a split of a home-and-home series.
Two nights after the Celtics won by 25 in Boston, the Nets dominated the second quarter that was pivotal in both games and held on after blowing most of a 22-point lead, their largest of the season.
Joe Johnson added 17 points for the Nets, who have won two in a row at home, where they have barely played this season.
Isaiah Thomas and Avery Bradley each scored 27 points for the Celtics, taking on more responsibility in the backcourt with starting guard Marcus Smart lost for possibly a couple of weeks with a lower left leg injury.
The Celtics outscored the Nets 43-23 in the second quarter Friday. This time, Brooklyn made 14 of 21 shots in a 35-point second quarter en route to a 59-42 advantage at halftime.
Brooklyn then pushed it to 67-45 early in the third, but Thomas scored 15 and Bradley hit three of his seven 3-pointers in the period to finally get the Celtics in the game.
The Celtics had won the last three meetings and every loss for the Nets is big for them this season, since Brooklyn owes Boston its first-round pick from the Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce trade in 2013. The Nets have one of the NBA’s worst records, so it’s looking like the Celtics will get a good one.
But they couldn’t help themselves further Sunday, as Jack steadied the Nets after Boston cut it to 90-86 with about 9 minutes remaining.
Celtics David Lee was scoreless and missed all three shots in 7 minutes off the bench after going 5 for 5 for 11 points Friday. … The Celtics came in forcing an NBA-best 19.6 turnovers per game, but they coughed it up 17 times Sunday, leading to 25 points for the Nets. … Boston fell to 3-2 on the road.
Nets: G Wayne Ellington sat out with a migraine. … The Nets are nearly finished with a stretch that has them playing 11 of their first 16 games on the road. They visit Oklahoma City and Cleveland this week, then play nine straight in New York — eight at home and one at the Knicks.
Coach Brad Stevens said before the game that Smart could miss at least a couple of weeks. He said the second-year guard won’t need surgery and the injury, which he said was the subluxation of a joint, isn’t considered a long-term problem, but that doctors want to make sure he’s fully healed before returning.
HOME-AND-HOME — AND HOME-AND-HOME
The teams play again Jan. 2 in Boston and Jan. 4 in Brooklyn. It’s the first time the Nets play two home-and-home series against the same opponent in one season since Indiana in 2007-08.
Celtics: Visit Atlanta on Tuesday.
Nets: Visit Oklahoma City on Wednesday.