Whether he’s starting or coming off the bench, Avery Bradley is in the kind of flow that doesn’t seem to have any end in sight.
Bradley, back in the starting lineup courtesy of a left knee bruise injury to Marcus Smart, delivered yet another monster game scoring the ball in finishing with a season-high 27 points.
He got some major help in the backcourt with Isaiah Thomas also scoring 27 points.
It was the kind of performance that the Celtics desperately needed from their starting backcourt.
Unfortunately for the Celtics, Bradley and Thomas’ red-hot shooting wasn’t enough to overcome a balanced attack by Brooklyn as the Nets were able to hold on for a 111-101 win.
Boston trailed by as many as 22 points in the third quarter, but were able to cut the Brooklyn lead to as little as four points (90-86) following a pair of free throws by Kelly Olynyk.
But the Nets responded with an 8-3 run.
The Celtics continued to hang close, but consistently failed to string together a series of much-needed defensive stops needed to complete a comeback.
Brooklyn opened the game by scoring the first five points, looking very much like a team on a mission to avenge what was an embarrassing 120-95 loss at Boston on Friday.
Brooklyn (3-12) pulled ahead by as many as 22 points, but the Celtics put together an 18-6 run in the third quarter that brought them within 86-78 going into the fourth quarter.
The Celtics used a zone defense for long stretches in the third quarter that took the Nets out of what had otherwise been a good rhythm.
But the Nets regrouped and started to get the ball to Brook Lopez in the high post with little to no resistance by the Celtics.
Lopez finished with a double-double of 23 points along with 10 rebounds for the Nets, while Jarrett Jack chipped in with 20 points. Other standouts for the Nets included Joe Johnson (17 points) and Thaddeus Young who had a double-double of 11 points and 11 rebounds.