Nets, down 28 to Celtics, pull off NBA’s largest comeback of season

Tim BontempsESPN4 Minute Read

BOSTON — The Brooklyn Nets entered TD Garden for Friday evening’s sport towards the Boston Celtics on a four-game shedding streak.

Then, halfway by way of the second quarter, Brooklyn discovered itself observing a 28-point deficit — and appeared nicely on its solution to a fifth straight defeat.

The Nets, although, had different concepts.

“There was some extent in that first quarter, early second quarter, the place we checked out one another and mentioned, ‘We’re not going out this fashion,’ and it form of introduced us collectively,” Nets ahead Cam Johnson mentioned.

It not solely introduced Brooklyn collectively — it additionally served as a catalyst for a very exceptional flip of occasions. Not solely did the Nets discover a solution to get again into the sport, they managed to utterly erase that deficit by the early a part of the third quarter and by no means regarded again. They got here away with a 115-105 over the previously East-leading Celtics in entrance of a shell-shocked sellout crowd.

The Brooklyn victory was the only largest comeback win of the season for any NBA group, in accordance with ESPN Stats & Information analysis, and tied the most important comeback by any group over the past 25 seasons.

It additionally snapped a 10-game shedding streak for the Nets towards the Celtics, together with final season’s playoffs.

“I feel we took our foot off the fuel,” mentioned Jaylen Brown, who led Boston with 35 factors, “and [Brooklyn] simply ramped up their strain somewhat bit.”

What was a celebratory temper within the opening minutes of the sport — one Boston led 37-15 after one quarter and 51-23 with 7:23 remaining within the second — was changed by dismay and several other rounds of boos as Brooklyn went on a ridiculous 83-39 run over a 24-minute, 29-second span.

“We began off nicely,” mentioned Jayson Tatum, who had 22 factors, 13 rebounds and 5 assists whereas going 10-for-23 from the sector and 0-for-8 from 3 (probably the most 3s he is ever tried in a sport with out making one). “Lost our composure somewhat bit as a gaggle. They saved rolling, we did not essentially regain it. It simply turned robust to come back again.”

As Boston roared out of the gate, it appeared it was going to be a straightforward evening for the Celtics (45-19), who are actually two losses behind the Milwaukee Bucks for the highest spot within the Eastern Conference standings. But even because the Celtics took that 37-15 lead after the primary quarter, coach Joe Mazzulla was involved with how the sport was going — particularly that Brooklyn was getting up extra 3s than Boston early on.

“I used to be truly anxious as a result of we have been scoring, nevertheless it wasn’t as a result of we have been making photographs,” Mazzulla mentioned. “It was as a result of we have been getting layups. And they’re a really analytically sound group. And so I knew the tide was going to shift as a result of they have been going to proceed to shoot 3s, and if we did not play at a degree of capturing 3s and getting offensive rebounds and caring for the ball, that was going to price us.”

It was an identical feeling on Brooklyn’s facet, because the Nets felt if they may cease making errors that allowed Boston to get one straightforward bucket after one other, there was greater than sufficient time to make a sport of issues.

“It actually does,” Johnson mentioned when requested if early leads — due to the quantity of 3s taken in Friday’s sport — might really feel smaller than they as soon as did. “Especially when you realize you are simply messing up loads, and that is the rationale for it. In the NBA, leads aren’t protected. Leads simply aren’t protected, you realize? People go on runs. Sometimes photographs go in, typically they do not.

“And so you’ve got simply bought to stay to the script, maintain your head down and maintain working, and we had that effort throughout the board in the present day and the end result was a win.”

The Nets have been led by a game-high 38 factors from Mikal Bridges, whose two highest-scoring video games have now are available in his first eight appearances with Brooklyn.Omar Rawlings/Getty Images

That additionally occurred, partially, as a result of Mikal Bridges had one other explosive scoring sport for the Nets. Bridges completed with 38 factors — 32 of which got here after the primary quarter — on 13-for-22 capturing, together with 4-for-6 from 3-point vary, to associate with 10 rebounds, 4 assists and a steal.

Bridges now has the 2 highest-scoring video games of his profession — 45 factors in a win over Miami final month, and the 38 he scored towards Boston — in his first eight video games with the Nets, after enjoying 365 video games over the primary four-plus seasons of his NBA profession with Phoenix.

“Just attempting to be aggressive, man,” Bridges mentioned. “The entire factor is simply to go on the market and win, and I really feel like if I get to a few of my spots … I really feel like I could make [shots].”

In doing so, the Nets (35-28) — now 2½ video games forward of the Heat for the sixth playoff spot within the Eastern Conference — shocked the Celtics, who additionally almost blew a big lead in Wednesday’s win over the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Mazzulla, along with saying his group “let its foot off the fuel,” additionally identified how the Nets dominated each statistical class — from taking and making extra 3s and free throws to getting extra offensive rebounds to taking extra photographs — for instance of how his group merely did not do sufficient to win the sport.

Now, he mentioned, it is on the Celtics to do higher in these conditions transferring ahead.

“You have to have the ability to deal with it,” Mazzulla mentioned. “You cannot get comfy. It’s onerous to say, it is actually onerous to do, however you attempt to work by way of conditions like that so that you simply say, ‘Oh, is it actually preventable?’

“No, it is not. Every group has performed it. And so, to me, the realm of progress and the chance is available in ensuring it does not occur once more if we’re in that scenario once more.”

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