There are some things in life that you know are absolutes.
Talk centering around Golden State within moments of defeating Brooklyn?
Yup, that’s one of ‘em.
The Celtics managed to survive a hard-fought, 109-102 win at Brooklyn which extended their winning streak to 13 in a row, setting the stage for Thursday night’s battle between Boston and Golden State, two teams with the top two records in the NBA.
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Golden State being there?
But the Celtics, especially after losing Gordon Hayward (ankle) for what should be the rest of the season, and then dropping their first two games only to win the next 13 – something no team in NBA history has ever done – has put the Celtics in class of distinction few if any expected this season.
“It’s always a great challenge to go against those guys,” said Boston’s Kyrie Irving who returned to the Celtics lineup after missing the Toronto game on Sunday due to a facial fracture. “They have unbelievable talent. They built an incredible culture there. For us as a young team, trying to come in and be in that number one spot like they are, and that’s being a championship team, we have to face tests like this in the regular season. It’ll only be a chance for us to get better. We understand that they have incredible players. But we have incredible players as well. It’ll be great to see some high-level play, some high-level players.”
Said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens: “We just have to play really solid on both ends and do what we do as well as we can, and see where we stand. Obviously, they are outstanding.”
Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Boston’s 109-102 win over Brooklyn which extended their winning streak to 13 in a row with defending NBA champion Golden State up next.
The plastic mask he hates to wear didn’t do much to impact his ability to score. He led all players with 25 points on 8-for-20 shooting along with five assists.
He was the man for the Celtics in the fourth quarter, tallying 11 of his 21 points to go with 10 rebounds.
As the Nets fought their way back from a deficit that peaked at 21 points, Harris’ long-range shooting helped significantly. He led Brooklyn with 19 points which included five 3-pointers.
He has been an absolute star thus far this season, pushing all the right buttons, getting the most out of his players and more than anything else, winning games – a lot of games.
It was yet another highly efficient shooting night for Horford, tallying a double-double of 17 points and 11 rebounds which included him shooting 8-for-10 from the field.
Just when you think you’ve seen the best of Tatum, the 19-year-old shows you a move that leaves you once again slack-jawed that a player so young can be so skilled and have such a feel for the game. He had 19 points on 6-for-9 shooting.
For a third-string point guard (Jeremy Lin and D’Angelo Russell were both out), Dinwiddie did a lot of nice things for the Nets, finishing with a double-double of 12 points and 11 assists.
This was one of those nights when they provided very little in terms of actual production or impact. Shooting-wise, they were a collective 4-for-26 from the field while scoring just 13 points. And defensively, three of the four worst defensive ratings for the game came from the second unit (Semi Ojeleye, 151.0; Terry Rozier 108.2; and Marcus Smart 101.1).