BOSTON – In the eyes of most NBA experts, the Boston Celtics and the Brooklyn Nets are worlds apart.
Boston is a contender with its sights set on a deep playoff run.
The Nets are expected to be a contender for the worst record in the NBA.
Both teams seemed to be playing up – or down depending on how you look at the Nets – to expectations with the Celtics going into the half with a 62-50 lead.
Boston’s starting five set the tone with a balanced, long-ball attack that put the Nets in a double-digit first quarter deficit that they were never able to climb out of.
After one quarter of play, Boston led 29-16 with three different players (Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder and Isaiah Thomas) each scoring seven points.
As we have seen throughout most of the preseason, the Celtics went to their bench for long stretches in the second quarter.
And as they have done in the past, the group did not disappoint as they were to manage a double-digit lead most of the quarter.
Former Harvard star Jeremy Lin cut Boston’s lead to 34-25 only for Boston’s Terry Rozier to come right back with a corner 3-ball to increase Boston’s lead to 37-25.
What we liked
The overall shot-making of Boston’s starting unit continues to be a thing of beauty. It can’t be over-stated how much easier shots are coming for all of the Celtics players with Al Horford in the lineup. His presence and its impact on ball movement are undeniable. In the first quarter, Boston had a 13-point lead while shooting 55 percent (11-for-20) from the field. Isaiah Thomas led the way with 19 points while making all six of his shots from the field.
What we didn’t like
When Boston wasn’t making shots, they were being way too careless with the ball with most of the turnovers being of the unforced variety. At the half, Boston had committed 16 turnovers which led to 18 points for the Nets.
Second half goals
Cutting down on turnovers for Boston is a given. Beyond that, use the second half to get the bench players more court time and in doing so, allow the coaching staff and the front office to better evaluate the players before cuts are made.