The Boston Celtics' three-game win streak was snapped Wednesday night as they were outclassed by the Brooklyn Nets, 123-104.
With Patty Mills (23 pts) and Kevin Durant (21) leading the charge, Brooklyn got off to a hot start and never trailed in its fourth consecutive victory. Marcus Smart did his best to spark the C's with 20 points and eight assists, but it wasn't nearly enough as Boston shot just 34-for-91 (37.4%) from the field. Stars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown were a lackluster 9-for-31 (29%).
Here are some immediate takeaways from Boston's defeat, which brings its record to 10-9.
Celtics could've used Patty Mills
Boston was rumored to be interested in signing Patty Mills as a free agent last summer. It seemed like a perfect match, especially given the veteran point guard's familiarity with Celtics head coach Ime Udoka. The two won an NBA championship together with the San Antonio Spurs in 2014.
Mills ultimately landed with the Nets on a two-year, $12 million deal and came back to haunt Udoka and the C's on Wednesday night. The 33-year-old played a huge role in Boston's demise, pacing Brooklyn with 23 points and drilling seven of his 10 3-point shots.
After Mills joined the Nets, Udoka playfully told Durant at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics that the C's "know how to lock Patty up." That statement might end up on OldTakesExposed after Wednesday's performance.
The Celtics are just the latest victim of Mills' red-hot 3-point shooting. Over his last five games, Mills is a ridiculous 33-for-56 from 3 (58.9%).
Jaylen Brown still shaking off the rust
Brown started for the C's after being considered a game-time decision. The 25-year-old is still managing the hamstring injury that kept him sidelined for eight games. He returned from the injury in Monday night's win over the Houston Rockets and dropped 19 points in 23 minutes, but it was clear on Wednesday night he still isn't 100 percent.
In 24 minutes of work, Brown tallied 13 points on 5-for-15 shooting and missed all eight of his shots from 3-point range. Within the game's first couple of minutes, he attempted and missed the C's first two shots while adding a turnover. It isn't difficult to see why Udoka is playing it safe with his All-Star wing. He still doesn't look like himself.
Brown didn't appear to re-aggravate his injury, but his status for Friday's game vs. the San Antonio Spurs still will be worth monitoring. If he isn't back to full strength, it might be wise to sit him another game or two and put Dennis Schroder back into the starting lineup.
Jayson Tatum's hot streak comes to an end
Tatum had four straight games with 30+ points and nine consecutive games with 20+ points heading into Wednesday night. Those streaks were snapped by the Nets as he notched only 15 on 4-for-16 shooting (1-9 from 3) in the loss.
Turnovers also were an issue as Tatum accounted for five of the team's 11. The 23-year-old turned the ball over only three times in his previous three games combined.
We can chalk this one up as simply a down game for the two-time All-Star. If history is any indication, he'll bounce back and drop 30 vs. San Antonio on Friday. That's at least what the Celtics will hope for as Tatum was just starting to round into form after a rocky start to the campaign.