The Boston Celtics have been searching for a 48-minute performance over the last few weeks. They didn’t get one Monday night, but they were close.
Boston dominated the visiting Nets during the first half and led from start to finish en route to a 114-105 victory. It led by as many as 27 points during the contest before Brooklyn staged a bit of a comeback late in the second half.
This victory was underway early, as Jae Crowder canned a 3-pointer just 35 seconds into the contest to give the C’s a 3-0 lead out of the gates, a lead they would never relinquish. Isaiah Thomas and Avery Bradley added in layups as Boston jumped out to a 7-2 lead that grew to 28-13 by the end of the first quarter.
Yes, Boston needed to score at a high level to build such a lead, but its defense was the key to its dominant first quarter. The C’s limited Brooklyn to 3-for-21 shooting from the field during the period, good for a 14.3 percent clip. That stands at one of Boston’s top defensive quarters of the entire season.
It also stands as the reason why the Celtics built up an early lead that they never gave away.