There were a number of factors the Boston Celtics felt would come into play if they were to beat the Brooklyn Nets on Monday, with points in the paint ranking relatively high on the list.
Indeed, Boston’s ability to punish the Nets in the paint was instrumental to their 103-94 win.
“We stayed in the paint tonight,” said Boston’s Evan Turner who had a double-double of 12 points and 11 rebounds.
Boston outscored Brooklyn 54-40 on points in the paint, a surprising stat line considering the Nets’ 1-2 frontline punch of Brook Lopez and Thaddeus Young who consistently give the Celtics problems with their inside scoring games.
Boston inserted Kelly Olynyk into the starting lineup instead of Jared Sullinger, which contributed to the Celtics’ strong scoring night in the paint, which included a 37-point scoring explosion in the first quarter.
“When you play spacers, they’re going to be guarded on the perimeter,” Celtics head coach Brad Stevens told reporters after Monday’s game. “That’s what happened a little bit tonight. The other thing is we just really wanted to put an emphasis on it. That’s what we talked about all day long. We talked about getting into the paint, getting into the paint, getting into the paint.”
And that talk was soon turned into action, the kind that allowed Boston (19-15) to snap its two-game losing streak and gives them legit hope and optimism that they can build off Monday’s performance going forward.