Celtics-Nets takeaways: C's win sixth straight in dominant fashion


The Boston Celtics are on a roll as they beat the shorthanded Brooklyn Nets in one of their most lopsided wins of the season so far.

They started Tuesday night's game on a 28-2 run and didn't look back as they blew out Brooklyn at Barclays Center, 126-91. It was the C's sixth straight win and their eighth in their last nine games.

Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart dropped 22 points apiece while Jayson Tatum chipped in 19 of his own. Robert Williams notched a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds.

With their "Big Three" of Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Kyrie Irving sidelined, the Nets couldn't get much of anything going against Boston's stifling defense. Jevon Carter was a bright spot with 21 points off the bench, as were James Johnson and Cam Thomas with 17 points each.

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Here are three instant takeaways from the Celtics' blowout victory as they improve to 31-25 and overtake Brooklyn for seventh place in the Eastern Conference. They'll return home to TD Garden for a Friday night showdown with the Denver Nuggets.

D is for dominance

We're beginning to sound like a broken record, but that's because the Celtics have found a formula for blowing teams out of the water lately. Their sensational defense has been the key to their torrid stretch. This time, they limited the Nets to 38.4% from the field (38-99) and 27.8% from 3 (10-36).

Boston also forced 13 turnovers and outrebounded the Nets, 52-40.

With Brooklyn missing its "Big Three," the Celtics skeptics still have some ammo. Still, there's no doubt this defense is one of the best in the league regardless of the quality of their opponent. They own the best defensive rating in the NBA since the calendar flipped to 2022.

The Celtics' 35-point win marks their fifth win of 30 or more in their last nine games.

Jaylen Brown sends a message

Had the game not gotten out of hand before the fourth quarter, Brown likely would've had himself a triple-double. He finished with 22 points, nine assists, and seven rebounds in 28 minutes and wasn't needed in the fourth with the C's already up 25.

Brown made a strong statement after being snubbed from the NBA All-Star Game, and he doubled down after LaMelo Ball was chosen over him as an injury replacement. The 22 points on 9-of-12 shooting was a nice sight, but it was Brown's nine assists that really set the tone for the C's. They finished with 32 assists on 50 field goals made.

Marcus Smart gets hot from deep

Smart has been the playmaker the Celtics have needed lately, but the veteran point guard took an opportunity to remind the world he can still score when he feels like it. In the C's final game before Thursday's NBA trade deadline, Smart tallied 22 points while shooting 6-for-13 from beyond the arc.

Smart also had three assists, one steal, and a block while leading another stellar defensive effort for the C's.

The Atlanta Hawks and Minnesota Timberwolves are the two teams linked to Smart in trade rumors ahead of the deadline. It's fair to assume the C's asking price is significant, especially given what the longest-tenured Celtic has brought to the table over the last couple of weeks.

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