It was another blowout win for the Brooklyn Nets, as they defeated the Celtics 123-95. The Nets improve their all-time Christmas Day record to 5-5 and collect their first win on the holiday since 2002. The last time the Nets played on Christmas Day before today was back in 2013.
The third scheduled Christmas Day game started slow for both teams, as turnovers and fouls plagued the entire first half. Kevin Durant was limited to only 6 shots in the first half, but that changed immediately once the second half began. Durant scored 16 in the third quarter alone and began the quarter five for five from the field. Durant has looked simply incredible since his return from injury. He has looked like the KD of the old so far.
Kyrie Irving had an amazing game himself in his first official game back in Boston. He scored 37 points on a remarkable 13 for 21 shooting against the Celtics. He made seven threes in the game, which ties a Christmas Day record also held by Brandon Ingram and Duncan Robinson. Irving broke a Nets franchise record as well for most points in a Christmas Day game, which was held by Micheal Ray Richardson‘s 36 points back in 1984. Irving along with Durant were both game-highs in the plus/minus department at +31, showing their early impact on the Nets. It’s still extremely early in the season, but they sure look like the best offensive duo in the league.
What’s been most impressive early-on has been certain players clearly understanding their roles. Most assumed it would take a while to form this chemistry, but no, it’s been seemingly effortless early on. Players like Caris LeVert, Spencer Dinwiddie, and Joe Harris were aware that they would be sacrificing shots going into this season. While the longest-tenured Nets may not love having their roles diminished, they fully understand why. Sacrificing shots for Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving are what any teammate would do.
The Nets also had another outstanding defensive effort during their Christmas Day game, holding another opponent once again to under 100 points. Let me tell you, if the Nets can finish top 10 in defense this season, they will be unstoppable. We all know how great offensively they can be, but their ceiling would go through the roof with top-tier defense. It’s still extremely early and we shouldn’t come to a conclusion right away, but man do the Nets look good.
The Nets are the first team since the 2008-09 Lakers to begin the season by beating two opponents by 20+ points. The Lakers of course went off to win the championship that season. Again, it’s still early, but this stat shows how terrific the Nets have looked early on this season.
Brooklyn will have off tomorrow after their Christmas Day onslaught, then will head off to face the Hornets in Charlotte. The game will take place at 7:00 PM EST on Sunday. YES Network will carry the game locally, but you can still catch the game nationally on NBA TV.
Performances of Note:
Kyrie Irving – 37 points, 8 assists, 6 rebounds, 13-21 FG, 7-10 3PT, 4-4 FT, 33 minutes
Kevin Durant – 29 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, 9-16 FG, 3-4 3PT, 8-9 FT, 33 minutes
Jarrett Allen – 9 points, 11 rebounds, 4 blocks, 2-3 FG, 5-6 FT, 21 minutes
Jaylen Brown – 27 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 11-25 FG, 5-9 FT, 31 minutes
Jayson Tatum – 20 points, 8 rebounds, 9-22 FG, 2-6 3PT, 36 minutes
Marcus Smart – 13 points, 6 assists, 3 rebounds, 4-12 FG, 3-7 3PT, 2-2 FT, 32 minutes