Despite starting the first quarter red hot, the Nets cooled off and started to shoot poorly throughout the rest of the game. The Celtics did the exact opposite.
After spending the start of the season looking for any help off the bench that they could get, the Boston backups finally figured out that they would be needed to get over the hump this season.
With young stars Jeff Green and Jared Sullinger picking up the slack off the bench and veteran Jason Terry evolving into a reliable shooter once again, the Celtics are on the right track to becoming a serious threat in the Eastern Conference again.
Add in the continued stellar play of stars like Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, and anyone counting Boston out when the playoffs start is naïve.
The veteran-laden team can still be dangerous.
As for Brooklyn, there is a strong core of players that can play well at times, but they need to find more consistent shooting from guards Deron Williams and Joe Johnson if they want to be a serious threat in the Atlantic Division or the Eastern Conference.
There is still a long season ahead of both teams, but each squad must learn from Tuesday’s game and build off their finding going forward; these lineups could play so much better.
For the full box score, check NBA.com.
Player of the Game: Jared Sullinger, F, Boston Celtics
While the normal stars were all out in Brooklyn on Christmas, the player of the game has to be Boston Celtics rookie power forward Jared Sullinger.
Despite having a mediocre season so far while getting acclimated to the next level, Sullinger is proving why many scouts thought he had what it took to be a star in the NBA despite the injury concerns that plagued his short college career.
With Brooklyn power forward Kris Humphries out with an abdominal injury, Sullinger man-handled the Nets down low and managed 16 points on 6-for-7 shooting, seven rebounds and a team-best +21 point differential.
If there was ever a coming-out game for Sullinger, this was it.
Up Next for Boston
The Boston Celtics are looking to change the course of their season after losing four of the last five games coming into Tuesday’s matchup with the Brooklyn Nets.
With a plethora of veterans and a few young players that have yet to step-up and become game changers for the Celtics, there is still a whole second half of the season to turn it on.
If the team gets hot now, they deserve it.
Up Next for Brooklyn
After the move to Brooklyn from New Jersey and the failed attempt to get center Dwight Howard this offseason, many questioned how well the Nets would perform in the 2012-13 season.
The team has answered emphatically that they are good, but nowhere near as good as they can be; that’s a dangerous proposition for the rest of the Eastern Conference to deal with.
While the upcoming schedule features some of the toughest teams in the NBA (Spurs, Thunder and Knicks), Brooklyn’s schedule is full of terrible teams and troubled franchises until Jan. 25.
If the Nets can capitalize, they will be in a good spot in the playoff hunt heading into February.
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