Celtics-Nets takeaways: C's enter All-Star break with blowout win

Celtics-Nets takeaways: C's enter All-Star break with blowout win originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

Three Key Storylines

  • Headband D-White dominates

  • Hauser, Pritchard belong in the 3-point contest

  • A blowout of epic proportions

The Boston Celtics are rolling into the NBA All-Star break with six consecutive wins and the league's best record.

They improved to 43-12 with a wire-to-wire victory in Wednesday's rematch with the Brooklyn Nets at TD Garden. After earning a hard-fought win Tuesday at Barclays Center, the C's blew out their Eastern Conference foe in front of the home crowd, 136-86.

The game was all but over after the first half, during which Boston outscored Brooklyn 68-32. That's the fewest number of points allowed by the Celtics in a half this season and their largest halftime lead since 2010.

Wednesday's victory marked the 100th of Joe Mazzulla's head-coaching career. He becomes the fifth-quickest NBA coach (137 games) ever to reach the 100-win milestone.

Payton Pritchard led the way for the C's with a team-high 28 points. Derrick White and Jayson Tatum -- both wearing white headbands -- added 27 and 20 points respectively before being benched for the fourth quarter with the big lead. Kristaps Porzingis returned to the lineup and scored 15 points before sitting out the second half.

It's officially the All-Star break for the C's, who will have Tatum and Brown representing the team in the 2024 NBA All-Star Game on Sunday. Brown will also participate in the Slam-Dunk Contest on Saturday.

Before we turn the page to All-Star Weekend, here are three takeaways from Wednesday night's blowout.

Headband D-White dominates

Jayson Tatum and Derrick White decided to join Jrue Holiday and don white headbands for Wednesday's game. White explained the surprise fashion statement to NBC Sports Boston's Abby Chin at halftime.

"JT said he wanted to wear a headband, so I said I'll ride with you," White said.

Perhaps they're on to something, because they both put on a show for the TD Garden crowd in the final game ahead of the break.

White went off for 19 points in the first half and finished with 27 on 10-of-16 shooting (5-10 3-PT) through three quarters. He sat the entire fourth quarter with Boston up 46.

He added five rebounds and four assists to his stat line, but the number that really jumped off the page was his +44.

White's outstanding performance served as one last reminder that he deserved a spot in this weekend's NBA All-Star Game. As Mazzulla put it, "Clearly, winning isn't important."

Sam Hauser and Payton Pritchard belong in the 3-point contest

Earlier this month, sharpshooter Sam Hauser told our Abby Chin he would be interested in participating in the 3-point contest during All-Star Weekend.

“It would be cool, for sure. I’m not really hanging my head over it," he said. "If it happens, it happens. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t… If I don’t end up going, I get to spend more time with my family, which I’ll love. If I do get to go, it’ll be cool to be part of.”

Unfortunately, he was not selected as one of the eight participants, and that's a shame. Hauser has been a tremendous 3-point shooter off the bench for Boston over the last two years. He entered Wednesday's game shooting 40.9 percent from beyond the arc.

Hauser improved on that number in the win over Brooklyn. Starting in place of Jaylen Brown (right shoulder contusion), the 26-year-old went 4-of-7 from deep (5-8 FG) and finished with 14 points in 29 minutes. He also logged five rebounds, two assists, and a steal.

Hauser undoubtedly deserves an invitation to the 3-point contest at some point in his career, and he should be joined by Payton Pritchard.

Pritchard provided a reminder of his 3-point prowess with an exceptional showing on Wednesday. The 26-year-old guard took advantage of his boost in playing time (31 minutes) and went a scorching 6-for-9 from deep (11-16 FG). He finished with a team-high 28 points, just two points shy of tying his career-high.

Let the petitioning for Hauser and Pritchard to participate in next year's 3-point contest begin.

A blowout of epic proportions

The Celtics beat the Nets by a whopping 50 points, but just how dominant were they on Wednesday night? Let's put the emphatic victory in a proper perspective...

  • Brooklyn's 86 points marked the lowest total against Boston this season.

  • It was the C's second-largest margin of victory this season. Their largest was a 51-point over Indiana.

  • Boston had its largest halftime lead (36) since 2010 vs. the New Jersey Nets.

  • This was the Celtics' fifth 50-point win in franchise history.

Not a bad way to head into the break. Celtics basketball returns Feb. 22 when they visit the Chicago Bulls.