Nets takeaways from Thursday’s 109-98 loss to the Celtics, including Brooklyn running out of gas late

Jan 12, 2023; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) drives past Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart (36) at Barclays Center.
Jan 12, 2023; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) drives past Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart (36) at Barclays Center. / Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

In their first game without Kevin Durant, the Nets were defeated by the Celtics 109-98 on Thursday night at the Barclays Center.

Brooklyn’s depth stepped up, but it simply proved to not be enough as they suffered their ninth straight loss to Boston.

Here are some takeaways..

Both teams were without some of their big threats in this one. This was Brooklyn's first game without Durant, who was recently diagnosed with an MCL sprain.

Boston was without center Al Horford and then the news came out prior to the game that shooting guard Jaylen Brown was also out, and he could miss "a week or two" with an abductor strain.

Without Durant, Jacque Vaughn went with a starting five of Ben Simmons, Kyrie Irving, Joe Harris, Royce O’Neale, and Nic Claxton.

- Brooklyn got off to a nice start on the offensive end, hitting eight of their first 12 shots. Harris hit his first four shots of the night for 10 early points. T.J. Warren came off the bench with seven points of his own and Irving had five.

Despite not scoring a point in the first quarter, Simmons dished out seven of the team's nine assists.

The Nets held Jayson Tatum scoreless until the three-minute mark in the first quarter. He finished the quarter with a total of seven points. Luke Kornet also had seven points off the bench and Marcus Smart contributed five assists.

It was a relatively back-and-forth quarter to open the night, but Brooklyn found themselves up 31-29 after one.

- Behind Irving and Seth Curry, Brooklyn broke out on a 15-4 run to open the second and stretched their lead to as much as nine. However, Boston came storming back and was able to make it a one-point game late in the quarter.

The Celtics were able to take the lead, 60-57, heading into the break. Both teams were shooting 50 percent from the field and Boston was out rebounding the Nets 27-15.

After his slow start, Tatum was up to 14 points and six rebounds at this point in the game. The Nets had four different scorers in double digits; Irving (14), Warren (13), Curry (11), and Harris (10). Simmons’ passing clinic continued in the second, as he was up to an even ten assists at the half.

- Brooklyn was a little sloppy and got off to a slow start in the third. However, a massive Claxton block started a fast-break and got things headed in the right direction for the Nets. A 9-0 Nets run put them back ahead for the first time midway through the quarter.

Back-to-back threes from Irving and Yuta Watanabe pushed the Nets’ lead back up to five. Boston refused to go away, though, and they took a 84-82 lead heading into the final frame. Brooklyn’s depth continued to step up with Warren and Harris leading the way with 17 and 15 points, respectively.

- Brooklyn ran out of gas and Boston simply took over in the fourth quarter. They opened things up with a 16-2 run to push their lead to 12, the largest of the night.

Brooklyn was held scoreless for a stretch of three minutes to begin the quarter before finally getting one to fall. They were only able to muster a season-low 16 points in the fourth quarter, and the Celtics held on for the 109-98 win.

Despite falling short, Warren was outstanding off the bench with 20 points. In his first start in place of Durant, Harris also played well, scoring 18 points of his own. Irving had 18 points and Simmons finished with 13 assists and nine rebounds.

Tatum was relatively held in check with 20 points, Marcus Smart had a double-double (16 points, 10 rebounds), White had 15, and Brogdon had 16 off the bench for the Celtics.


What's next

Brooklyn has the next two days off before they close out there home-stand against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday night at 6:00 p.m.