The Brooklyn Nets put up a hell of a fight against the Eastern-Conference leading Boston Celtics on Tuesday night. A night when, thanks to the copious amounts of Boston transplants living in and around New York City, tickets soared well above $100 only hours before tip-off.
Facing a team that was on a twelve-game winning streak, the Nets, with their best two players in Jeremy Lin and D’Angelo Russell sitting on the sidelines, came out to prove that they were up for the challenge. Even when they went down 17-4 early in the game, the group’s belief never wavered.
When the half-time buzzer sounded, the Nets found themselves tied with the Celtics 52-52, a moral victory for every Nets player and fan alike. They had been playing well, but they needed to really bring it to the leagues best defensive team in the second half if they had any chance of coming away with the W.
From the get-go of the second half, it was apparent that the Celtics were hell-bent on improving their league-best win-streak to 13 games. Masked Kyrie turned his game up to eleven, the duo-that-could-have-been in Tatum and Brown continued to rub salt into the wound of Nets supporters, and the team as a whole tightened the clamps defensively.
By the time three-quarter-time came along, with the Celtics owning a 19-6 run, the Nets found themselves down by nine. While the game was not over, Coach Atkinson and his players knew that it would take a lot to finish the job. Despite six players finishing in double figures in points, however, the Celtics proved to be too strong and too defensively fundamental to let this game slip through their grasp, coming away with the 109-102 victory.
Shooting guard Joe Harris, who finished the game with a career-high 19-points said after the game; “it just goes to show when you play a great team, you can’t just have little strings here and there. You’ve got to have the complete game and that’s where we were lacking.” And he’s right. It’s very difficult to allow Boston this kind of space and expect to get away with it, because they will suffocate you until you have given up all hope.
The Nets have now fallen to 5-9, with a game against the Jazz coming up on Friday, a game that all Nets fans should be confident that their team will at the very least make a contest. Because, while they still sit at four games below five hundred, this team is playing a fun brand of basketball and are, without a doubt, heading in the right direction.