The Boston Celtics won their 13th straight game Tuesday night, but they had to give tremendous effort to earn it.
The C’s outlasted the Brooklyn Nets 109-102 at Barclays Center in a game that included many lead changes and momentum swings. Boston’s bench really struggled, but the starters picked up the slack, led by Kyrie Irving’s 25 points, 21 from Marcus Morris and 19 by Jayson Tatum.
Boston’s win streak is its longest since a 14-game run during the 2010-11 campaign.
The C’s improved to 13-2 with the victory, while the Nets fell to 5-9.
Here’s how it all went down.
PG: Kyrie Irving
SG: Jaylen Brown
SF: Jayson Tatum
PF: Marcus Morris
C: Al Horford
The C’s led 14-4 after a 9-0 run, which forced the Nets to take an early timeout. Boston hit six of their first eight shots, led by Tatum’s five points. Brown, who threw down an insane dunk, finished the quarter with seven points. Irving struggled early from the field wearing a mask to protect his facial injury, but he did hit two 3-point shots, including one at the end of the quarter that increased the Celtics’ lead to 30-21 after 12 minutes.
Boston shot 13 of 28 from the field in the quarter, including an impressive 6-for-10 mark from 3-point range. The Nets shot 1-for-8 from beyond the arc.
NETS FIGHT BACK
The Nets showed good fight to chip away at the lead and come within one after an Allen Crabbe 3-pointer with 6:51 remaining in the stanza. Brooklyn took a 38-37 lead after a Boston turnover following a timeout, capping a 17-5 run by the Nets. Brooklyn pushed its lead to 43-37 as part of a 14-0 run before free throws from Irving stopped Boston’s scoring drought of almost four minutes.
Irving started to assert himself toward the end of the quarter and a driving layup put the C’s up 50-49 with less than a minute to play in the half.
The teams went into the break tied 52-52. Irving led the Celtics with 14 points on 4-for-11 shooting, along with three assists. Tatum added 10 points on a perfect 4-for-4 mark from the field.
The Nets’ bench was key in erasing the Celtics’ lead. Brooklyn’s second unit shot 9-for-19 from the floor and scored 21 points, led by a team-high nine from Caris LeVert. Boston’s bench scored just seven points.
CELTICS TAKE CONTROL
The Nets forced the Celtics to take a timeout just 2:45 into the quarter after DeMarre Carroll got his own rebound and scored between two C’s players. The teams exchanged baskets through the first six minutes of the quarter and combined for 11 turnovers in that stretch.
An 8-0 run by the Celtics propelled them to a 69-65 lead. Defense was the difference, as the C’s forced two turnovers in that span and contested every Nets shot.
The Celtics closed the quarter on a 23-6 run, which at one point grew their lead to a game-high 13 points at 80-67. The bench continued to struggle, shooting 2-for-18 through 36 minutes.
Irving led the Celtics with 18 points entering the fourth. Horford added 17, while Brown and Tatum each poured in 14. LeVert led the Nets with 13 points on 5-for-6 shooting.
SEAL THE DEAL
The Nets opened the quarter on a 10-2 run to close within 82-81. But, just like that, the C’s went on an 8-0 run of their own to take a 90-81 lead. Morris led the way with four points and a rebound in that span, giving him 18 points on 7-for-10 shooting overall. He finished the game with a season-high 21 points, including 11 points in the fourth quarter. Morris also notched his first double-double as a Celtic with 10 rebounds.
The Nets stayed within single digits for most of the fourth quarter, but six points from Irving and four from Tatum over the last four minutes finished off the win.
HIGHLIGHT OF THE NIGHT
The Celtics return to TD Garden for a showdown with the defending champion Golden State Warriors on Thursday night. Tip-off is scheduled for 8 p.m. ET.
Thumbnail photo via Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports Images