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Player grades: Mikal Bridges drops 27 as Nets lose to Celtics 118-110

NEW YORK — The Brooklyn Nets welcomed the Boston Celtics to Barclays Center on Tuesday for the front end of a back-to-back and lost 118-110.

For the Nets, Mikal Bridges had 27 points and three assists while Cam Thomas had 26 points and four assists. Lonnie Walker IV had 15 points off the bench and Nic Claxton had 10 points.

For the Celtics, Jayson Tatum had 41 points and 14 rebounds while Jaylen Brown had 19 points and four assists. Al Horford had 16 points and Derrick White had 16 points.

In the first half, both teams played each other to a standstill in the first quarter as while Jayson Tatum was busy going off, so was Mikal Bridges and Lonnie Walker IV. However, the second quarter saw the Celtics created a big lead thanks to Tatum continuing his offensive explosion along with Boston employing a Hack-A-Clax/Simmons strategy, forcing Brooklyn to bench Simmons towards the end of the half.

In the second half, the Nets made quite the rally as they found a way to stifle Boston’s offense enough to cut a 23-point deficit to eight points while Thomas and Bridges went off. The Nets weren’t able to complete the comeback because of Tatum still scoring enough to keep Brooklyn at bay, but the Nets did a good job of giving the effort that it took to come back as much as they did.

Here are your Nets player grades following Tuesday’s loss:

Ben Simmons: C

Simmons did not have one of his better offensive games as he wasn’t nearly as efficient shooting the ball like he was against the San Antonio Spurs. As most people know, Simmons does not have the most diverse offensive package, but he does a great job of driving to the rim when he has a full head of steam. Although he struggled with his scoring, Simmons did a great job of facilitating the offense and setting up his teammates with great passes.

Cam Thomas: A

Thomas had a solid game in this one as he found his scoring groove after a rough go of it in the first half. After some poor shooting in the first half, Thomas was able to find his groove in the third quarter as he was able to get off some of his stepbacks from mid-range and three-point range. While Thomas was getting picked for the majority of this game from some of the bigger players on the Celtics, he found a way to make an impact in other ways and played some solid defense when not in mismatches.

Mikal Bridges: A

Bridges had a solid offensive game as he had his offense working from inside the three-point arc. He had some issues finishing at the rim due to how physical the Celtics were playing from the beginning of this game, but he found a way to push through that and make his impact in the mid-range. Bridges struggled with his three-point shot, but he had a good offensive game and brought some value passing the ball as well.

Dorian Finney-Smith: C-

Finney-Smith had an okay game in this one as he didn’t really do much on the offensive end. Granted, he didn’t take many shots on offense for him to have an impact, but that also played a role in how the Celtics shifted their defensive coverages to players like Mikal Bridges and Cam Thomas. Finney-Smith was solid on the defensive end at times, but he is still on a minutes restriction after coming back from his left ankle injury so he did not play as much as he normally would.

Nic Claxton: C

Claxton had a decent game in this contest as he was efficient scoring at the rim when the ball came his way. Despite Kristaps Porzingis not playing in this game due to a lower back contusion, Claxton did not go off like he has done in the past due to him just not seeing the ball as much as he should when the opposing center is out. To his credit, Claxton made the most of his opportunities on the offensive end. He also did a good job of rebounding the basketball and protecting the rim when he could against Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.

Dennis Schröder: C

Schröder had a decent outing in this one as while he didn’t have quite the game that he had in his debut, he did have some nice moments. Schröder couldn’t get his shot to fall in this contest despite getting some good looks in the pick-and-roll and off of dribble penetration. He actually did a good job of rebounding the basketball and made some nice passes while sailing some others out of bounds on pretty routine plays.

Dennis Smith Jr.: D

Smith did not have a good outing in this one as he wasn’t able to get anything going on the offensive end of the floor for the Nets. With the way this season has gone, Smith is not depended on for his offensive game, but when he can score, Smith makes himself that much more valuable to the team. Unfortunately, defense was a rough one for him as he couldn’t compete with the size of the Celtics and Brooklyn was giving up too much size to leave him in the game.

Lonnie Walker IV: A

Walker was incredible in this one as he was lights out scoring the ball from when he entered the game. Walker had everything working from his three-point shot to his dribble-drive game and his offensive outburst was important for the Nets to stay in this game in the first half. He cooled off in the second half, but by then, he had done his job to keep the team going until Cam Thomas and Mikal Bridges found their rhythm to bring the home. Walker also had some nice plays passing the ball and he was pretty disruptive on the defensive end.

Day'Ron Sharpe: B

Sharpe came back to the Nets’ lineup after missing 15 games with a hyperextended left knee and picked up where he left off. Sharpe isn’t a microwave-scorer in the sense of putting up points in bunches, but he is pretty productive in his minutes as he was too much for the Celtics to deal with on the interior. Sharpe was also on a minutes restriction so he didn’t play much, but his nine minutes on the floor was more than valuable for Brooklyn.

Jalen Wilson: B+

If it wasn’t already clear by now, Wilson proved once and for all that he is ready to be a contributor within Brooklyn’s rotation. Whether that happens or not depends on how healthy the Nets are after the All-Star break, but even if the team is fully healthy, this game will make Jacque Vaughn think if Wilson should be in the game at any time. Wilson was perfect from three-point land and he did a good job of rebounding the basketball. However, where Wilson shines is the effort plays and how many times he’s willing to put his body on the line to get the basketball.

Story originally appeared on Nets Wire