The Brooklyn Nets exacted revenge against the Boston Celtics with a 112-107 victory at the Barclays Center on Friday.
When these two teams met on Wednesday at TD Garden, the Nets were outscored 64-47 in the second half en route to a 121-110 loss that dropped them back to .500. Boston fans added insult to injury in that game by taunting Kyrie Irving, who didn't make the trip to face his former team while continuing to rehab a shoulder injury.
Irving also sat out this win, his eighth straight game missed, but the Nets earned their 10th win of the season thanks to Spencer Dinwiddie's outstanding performance and the entire starting five each contributing at least 10 points.
On a difficult day for most of Boston's starting five, Jayson Tatum stood out with his best shooting performance in more than one week. He made more three-pointers against the Nets (four) than in the past three games combined (zero).
Notable Game Stats
- Spencer Dinwiddie (Nets): 32 points (10-of-19), 11 assists, five rebounds
- Joe Harris (Nets): 12 points (5-of-12), six rebounds, four assists
- Jarrett Allen (Nets): 14 points (7-of-12), 11 rebounds
- DeAndre Jordan (Nets): eight points (4-of-6), 11 rebounds
- Jayson Tatum (Celtics): 26 points (10-of-19), nine rebounds, four steals
- Kemba Walker (Celtics): 17 points (6-of-19), six assists, five rebounds
- Jaylen Brown (Celtics): eight points (4-of-8), six rebounds
- Enes Kanter (Celtics): 10 points (5-of-10), six rebounds
Celtics' Depth Shines in Loss vs. Nets
For the second straight game, the Celtics dug themselves a hole they were forced to crawl out of. This time it happened much earlier, with the Nets jumping out to a 29-15 lead late in the first quarter.
The difference this time around is Boston couldn't overcome that deficit, though head coach Brad Stevens still has reasons to be encouraged by the performance from his bench.
The second unit was excellent with a combined plus-24, led by guard Brad Wanamaker's 11 points, eight rebounds and three assists in 18 minutes and Enes Kanter's 10 points and six rebounds in 21 minutes. It had nearly as many points in the first half as it did in the entire game on Wednesday.
By comparison, Boston's starting guard trio of Walker, Brown and Marcus Smart were a combined minus-48. Tatum was the Celtics' best player overall and was 4-of-8 from three-point range.
While Tatum was doing what he could with the starters, the Celtics' talent off the bench kept this game closer than it otherwise would have been. The Nets only used nine players, compared to 12 for Boston, and no one Kenny Atkinson brought in off the bench had a higher rating than minus-three (Dzanan Musa).
Even though the result wasn't what the Celtics were hoping for, if they can continue to get this kind of production off the bench, they will be able to keep pace with the top teams in the Eastern Conference all season.
Spencer Dinwiddie Leads Nets to Big Win
Dinwiddie has had a difficult run as Brooklyn's primary point guard with Irving out of action. The 26-year-old was averaging 23.4 points and 7.3 assists in the past seven games, but he was only shooting 40.8 percent overall and 26.7 percent from three-point range during that span.
Just as encouraging as Dinwiddie getting his shooting touch back, he did an outstanding job getting his teammates involved with a season-high 11 assists. Passing hasn't been a problem for him in Irving's absence with an average of 7.8 dimes in the previous six games.
When Dinwiddie was on the court, the Nets were operating like a well-oiled machine against a Boston defense that entered Friday ranked among the top 10 in points allowed and defensive efficiency.
As dominant as Boston's bench was, the Nets starters were taking it to the Celtics. Dinwiddie, Taurean Prince, Jarrett Allen and Joe Harris were a combined plus-54 in the win. None of the other five players used by Atkinson had a positive plus-minus rating.
It's unclear at this point how much longer Irving will be out of action. The Nets need someone to step up in his absence as they continue to navigate their way out of some early-season woes.
Dinwiddie proved in a marquee game against one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference he's capable of being an impact player. This was also a big win for a Brooklyn squad that has struggled against quality competition so far.
Prior to this victory over Boston, the Nets' lone win against a team over .500 came on Nov. 1 when they beat the Houston Rockets 123-116.
There is still a lot of time for Atkinson's squad to figure things out. Dinwiddie provided a significant boost against the Celtics and will be able to lead the offense for the time being.
The Celtics (13-5) will play in New York again Sunday in a matchup with the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden. The Nets (10-9) will finish their brief two-game homestand on the same day against the Miami Heat.