Brooklyn Nets

Celtics-Nets simulation: C's stay hot on offense vs. Nets

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NBC Sports Boston Photo

Celtics-Nets simulation: C's stay hot on offense vs. Nets

The NBA season has been put on hold for at least 30 days due to the coronavirus crisis, meaning we may have to wait until mid-April at the earliest to watch the Boston Celtics again.

As a way to make up for the loss of Celtics action, we'll be using the NBA 2K20 video game to simulate each game on the schedule until they finally return.

PREVIOUS SIMULATIONS:

The Celtics were supposed to be playing the second half of a crucial back-to-back on Saturday. It would've been the team's fourth game against the Brooklyn Nets and the fourth time that they would face Brooklyn without Kyrie Irving.

Irving was out for the season with a shoulder injury before the NBA suspended its season due to the coronavirus pandemic. Ironically, our simulation really, really wanted him to see some action vs. the Celtics.

It took a lot of tinkering, but we managed to create a Brooklyn lineup without Irving for the simulation C's to do battle with. Here are the results of that simulation:

CELTICS STATS

As you can see, the Celtics fared very, very well on offense. And it was Jayson Tatum who led the way. The Nets had no answer for the 22-year-old who led the simulation Celtics' charge to a big first-quarter lead. He got to the hoop very easily and had several monster dunks that helped energize the Celtics.

Marcus Smart and Gordon Hayward also had excellent outings, combining to make all five of their shots from beyond the arc and each reaching 19 points. Had the game not have been a blowout, either of them could've had a chance to reach the 30 mark along with Tatum.

Kemba Walker had been the primary scorer for the team in other simulations but took on the role of top distributor with Tatum, Smart, and Hayward on fire in this one.

There are some weird-looking stat lines from the rest of the lineup. Notably, Brad Wanamaker leading the team in minutes (27) and shot attempts (17) seems fluky. But in reality, the game was so far out of reach heading into the fourth that the C's started their reserves at the beginning of the quarter. As a result, Wanamaker's scoring stats are a bit inflated, as he ran the offense for most of the final 12 minutes of the game.

As for Vincent Poirier nearly notching a double-double, he was very much in the same boat but did have a solid run at the end of the second quarter. Simulation Brad Stevens elected to give all four of his centers a shot against DeAndre Jordan and Jarrett Allen, and Poirier made the most of his time on the floor, especially on the offensive glass.

NETS STATS

It really was a poor outing from the simulation Nets. Their top two scoring options, Spencer Dinwiddie and Caris LeVert, combined to go just 8-of-29 from the field for 19 points. The real LeVert poured in 51 in an overtime win in Boston on March 4. Jarrett Allen and DeAndre Jordan exposed some of the weaknesses of the Celtics center rotation but with the team shooting just 16.7 percent from behind the arc, they never stood a chance.

After shooting 60 percent against the Raptors in their last simulated game, the Celtics continued to stay hot, hitting more than 50 percent of their shots. Part of the reason for that was their success in the paint (78 points in that area).

Additionally, winning the rebounding battle by 21 was also massive. That afforded them second-chance opportunities and the many long-range Nets misses that the C's grabbed afforded them an opportunity to get out in transition quite a bit. That's part of why the C's had a whopping 14 dunks on the day.

FINAL SCORE: Celtics 129, Nets 85

The simulation Celtics have now won four games in a row and are averaging an insane 123 points per game over that span. Next up, they'll take on the simulation Washington Wizards on their third consecutive road game.

Celtics Classics, Saturday, 7 p.m.: Paul Pierce drops 46 in second half vs. Nets

Celtics Classics, Saturday, 7 p.m.: Paul Pierce drops 46 in second half vs. Nets

Unfortunately, it seems like we'll be without the Boston Celtics for a while due to the COVID-19 outbreak. However, NBC Sports Boston will be re-airing some classic C's games during this difficult time, and you won't want to miss any of the action. 

Tune in on Saturday night at 7 p.m. to watch Paul Pierce drop 46 points in the second half against the New Jersey Nets on Dec. 1, 2001. 

The Celtics won that game 105-98 in overtime, largely in part to Pierce's 48-point afternoon. Antoine Walker also had a strong game for Boston, scoring 25 points and shooting 33.3 percent from the field. 

The re-airing of the game begins at 7 p.m. on NBC Sports Boston and can be live-streamed then by clicking here.



 

Kevin Durant, three other Nets test positive for coronavirus; team played Celtics recently

Kevin Durant, three other Nets test positive for coronavirus; team played Celtics recently

Four members of the Brooklyn Nets, reportedly including Kevin Durant, have tested positive for the coronavirus, the team announced. 

Shams Charania of The Athletic reported that Durant, who has yet to play for the Nets while he recovers from a torn Achilles after signing with Brooklyn in the off-season, is among the four.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski was first to report the positive tests.

Neither the team nor Wojnarowski identified the players who had tested positive. 

Among those recent opponents were the Boston Celtics, who played the Nets at TD Garden on March 3, losing 129-120 in overtime. The Celtics were also a recent opponent of the Utah Jazz, whose center Rudy Gobert, was the first NBA player to test positive for the virus, which led to the NBA to suspend its season and, subsequently, the suspension of all major sports seasons. 

The Celtics played the Jazz three days before the Nets. After the NBA suspended its season on March 11, the Celtics said in a statement that it was unlikely that anyone from the team came into contact with infected Jazz players Gobert and teammate Donovan Mitchell while they were contagious.

Celtics players were told to self-quarantine last weekend, at which time all players and staff that came into contact with the Jazz players were tested for the coronavirus, or more specifically, COVID-19. The players, like the rest of the country, have continued to stay in their homes this week.

None of the Celtics had been showing symptoms, Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated reported last week.

The Nets said in a statement that one of the four players is “is exhibiting symptoms while three are asymptomatic. All four players are presently isolated and under the care of team physicians.”