The Brooklyn Nets are getting healthy, and they now have their first winning streak of the season.
With Deron Williams and Paul Pierce returning to the floor, the Nets downed the Boston Celtics, 104-96, in Pierce and Kevin Garnett's first meeting with their former team since being dealt to Brooklyn over the summer.
Williams showed no ill effects of the ankle injury that kept him sidelined for nine straight games, rattling off 25 points and seven assists in 37 minutes. He moved very well and looked absolutely healthy for the entire contest.
Brook Lopez was dominant inside, shooting 10-of-13 from the floor en route to 24 points.
Avery Bradley dropped 22 for the Celtics, who saw their three-game winning streak snapped.
The Nets shot a scalding 56 percent and withstood an 11-of-22 performance from beyond the arc by Boston.
Let's analyze the keys to this game.
Celtics Had No Answer for Brook Lopez
Jared Sullinger and Brandon Bass are both strong, physical guys, but neither of them had the sheer size to deal with Lopez in the post.
The seven-foot Lopez was just too tall and too long for Boston's frontcourt, decimating the Celtics' big men all night and forcing double teams.
When Lopez was doubled, he was able to make smart decisions, either making quick moves to the basket or dishing the ball off to the open man underneath the cup.
Lopez also served as a great rim-protector on the other end, contesting a large amount of shots that the C's attempted at the rim.
Deron Williams Looked Completely Fine
You'd never know that Williams sat out the past couple of weeks with the way he played on Tuesday night.
The floor general diced up the Celtics' defense all game, shooting 10-of-16 from the floor and knocking down some big shots down the stretch.
D-Will showed absolutely no signs of rust and he had his legs throughout the entirety of the contest. Plus, he looked very comfortable running the Nets' offense.
If he is able to stay healthy, Brooklyn is going to be dangerous.
Wasted Opportunities for Celtics
Early on in the fourth quarter, the Nets couldn't buy a bucket, allowing the Celtics ample room to wriggle their way back into the game. Unfortunately for the C's, they couldn't buy a bucket, either.
Boston ran some very poor sets offensively and ran off too much of the shot clock throughout most of the final period, and once it did start making a run, it was too late.
Had the C's played with the kind of urgency early in the fourth quarter that they did during the final couple of minutes, who knows? They may have been able to steal this one, but they didn't.
Missed Free Throws for Boston
The Celtics shot only 15-of-21 from the stripe in this one, and that definitely hurt them down the stretch.
Brandon Bass, a normally extremely reliable free-throw shooter, missed three foul shots, and Jordan Crawford, another outstanding free-throw option, missed a couple himself.
Boston had the three-ball working, but it just couldn't find its rhythm at the charity stripe, and it ended up costing Brad Stevens' group in the end.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!