Caris LeVert Drops 51 Points to Rally Nets from 21-Point Deficit Past Celtics

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistMarch 4, 2020

BOSTON, MA - MARCH 3: Caris LeVert #22 of the Brooklyn Nets handles the ball against the Boston Celtics on March 03, 2020 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2020 NBAE (Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images)
Brian Babineau/Getty Images

The Brooklyn Nets got back on the right track Tuesday with a surprising 129-120 overtime road win over the Boston Celtics, who were playing without Jayson Tatum.

While the Celtics led by 21 points in the second half, Caris LeVert led a furious comeback for the Nets and sent the game to overtime with three free throws with 0.2 seconds remaining.

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Last minute of Celtics-Nets was wild 🍿 Game headed to OT after Nets drop 51 PTS in the 4Q. https://t.co/G9yfKZheCa

LeVert scored 37 points in the fourth quarter and overtime combined to reach a career-high 51 points.

Kevin Durant @KDTrey5

That 50 was beautiful, Vert. Thank you for that masterpiece

The Nets closed out the win in overtime at TD Garden and snapped a four-game losing streak in the process. The 27-33 squad has played well enough to hold a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference and continues to show it can be dangerous down the stretch.

The Celtics (41-19) were shorthanded as Tatum was out with an illness and Gordon Hayward left early with a knee contusion, but Kemba Walker returned to the court for the first time since the All-Star break and finished with 21 points in 23 minutes.

Still, the late charge from Brooklyn was enough to hand Boston a second straight home loss.


Notable Performances

  • Caris LeVert, G, Nets: 51 points, 17-of-26 from the field
  • Spencer Dinwiddie, G, Nets: 14 points, 4 assists
  • Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, G, Nets: 16 points, 8 rebounds
  • Kemba Walker, G, Celtics: 21 points, 3 assists
  • Marcus Smart, G, Celtics: 14 points, 10 assists
  • Jaylen Brown, G, Celtics: 22 points, 5 rebounds


Celtics Depth Not Enough to Pull Out Win

Most NBA teams would struggle with an All-Star like Tatum out. Considering one of the Celtics' top four scorers also left because of an injury (Hayward) and another was on a minutes restriction (Walker), it could have put the team in a tough position.

However, Boston's depth was on display throughout the game against Brooklyn:

Mike Petraglia @Trags

This game is a Brad Stevens mad scientist special... 12 of 14 #Celtics have seen action in the first half... Walker with 9 in his 12 minutes.

Tom Westerholm @Tom_NBA

The Celtics bench has 21 of the team’s 67 points.

Twelve different players scored for Boston and 13 saw at least five minutes of action. The Celtics totaled 40 bench points after getting only four in Saturday's overtime loss to the Houston Rockets.

The regular go-to options still came through with strong performances, including Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown:


Smart broke out the Mutombo finger wag ☝️ https://t.co/3bJKcMibJK

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Light work from Jaylen 🔄 https://t.co/HyKrN4rPG3

The problems came in the fourth quarter when the defense collapsed and no one was able to respond.

Tatum and Hayward were unavailable, while Smart eventually fouled out in overtime. The Celtics had no one to rely on for offense, which led to the brutal defeat.

To compete for a championship, Boston will need other players to become leaders late in games.


Caris LeVert's Late-Game Heroics Lift Nets

It just didn't seem like the Nets' night.

Brooklyn was 4-of-18 from three-point range in the first half and only 8-of-34 after three quarters. LeVert also hadn't done much, with 14 points going into the fourth quarter as the Nets trailed by 17.

However, things changed in the final period as LeVert took over.


.@CarisLeVert showed OUT in Boston 🔥 He dropped 26 in the 4th & finished with a career-high 51 PTS in the Nets W! https://t.co/SkTf3XmTyY

Kristian Winfield @Krisplashed


Keith Smith @KeithSmithNBA

LeVert is doing everything for Brooklyn right now. Great night for him.

LeVert totaled 26 points in the fourth quarter and then all 11 of his team's points in overtime to steal the win.

The squad's usual suspects were nowhere to be found down the stretch, with Spencer Dinwiddie and Joe Harris sitting in favor of players like Chris Chiozza, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot and Rodions Kurucs.

This ended up being the perfect move for head coach Kenny Atkinson, as the Nets stormed back for the tie and eventually pulled out the win.

LeVert was the true hero, as he seemingly couldn't miss in the final 17 minutes of action. He tied the game on the clutch free throws and wouldn't be stopped in overtime.

While some Nets fans are waiting on next year for Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant to return, the team already has some exciting players on the roster.


What's Next?

Both teams will have to get out of town quickly before their next games Wednesday. The Nets will return home to face the Memphis Grizzlies, while the Celtics will travel to take on the Cleveland Cavaliers.


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