Not even a full quarter was in the books when the Boston Celtics found themselves up by 17 points against Brooklyn.
You had to know that the always-scrappy Brooklyn Nets were going to at a minimum, make it a more competitive game despite their recent struggles.
And true to form, the Nets put up a good fight but in the end, but the Celtics were just too tough, too deep and maybe most important, too determined to keep on their winning ways as they beat the Nets for the second time in as many matchups this season, 111-92.
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Six Celtics finished in double figures scoring, led by Isaiah Thomas and Avery Bradley who had 23 and 22 points, respectively.
Boston (9-6) is now three games over .500 for the first time this season as they return home where they’ll face the San Antonio Spurs on Friday afternoon.
Brooklyn (4-10) went on a 21-6 run in the second quarter which helped them cut Boston’s lead to just two points at the half.
But the Celtics came out aggressive to start the third quarter, and soon pushed their lead back to double digits courtesy of a 16-4 run that made it a 76-64 game.
The Celtics weren’t done as they continued surging ahead as Boston went into the fourth quarter with a 79-66 lead.
But the Nets, despite losing their last four games by an average of 19.5 points, have been one of the scrappier teams in the NBA.
Not surprisingly, Boston’s double-digit lead soon vanished with Brooklyn getting contributions from some unexpected offensive sources like Trevor Booker and Sean Kilpatrick who finished with 18 and 23 points, respectively.
Boston got great mileage from its bench for the first six minutes of the first half, and then came back with a pair of starters – Al Horford and Jae Crowder - who joined a unit on the floor that included Avery Bradley, Terry Rozier and Tyler Zeller.
Leading 92-84, Crowder drained a 3-pointer and Bradley put-back in his own miss to put the Celtics ahead 97-84 which led to a Brooklyn time-out with 5:12 to play.
Thomas returned soon after and drained a 3-pointer that made it a 102-87 game.
And for the final four minutes, the Celtics had a five-man unit of Thomas, Bradley, Smart, Crowder and Horford on the floor who collectively put the game away.