BOTHELL (AP) — On Wednesday night, the Boston Celtics defeated the undermanned Brooklyn Nets 139-96 thanks to Jayson Tatum’s 31 points and nine rebounds.
As both of Boston’s studs connected on seven 3-pointers, the Celtics never trailed and eventually had a 49-point lead. Jaylen Brown chipped in with 26 points. On its route to its biggest win of the season, Boston dominated on both sides of the court and shot 60% through three quarters.
Robert Williams, who had been out with an ankle injury, ended with 16 points and nine rebounds. Derrick White contributed with 14 points and 10 rebounds.
This season, the Celtics have defeated the Nets three times, leading the Eastern Conference.
Brooklyn struggled throughout the game while shooting 41%, including 9 of 39 from outside the arc. Kyrie Irving led the way with 20 points, while Cam Thomas chipped in 19 for the Nets. Since Kevin Durant injured his right knee on January 8, the Nets have gone from 4-7 to 4-7.
Without Durant and subsequent injuries to Ben Simmons (left knee discomfort) and T.J. Warren (left shin contusion), who both missed their third straight game, Brooklyn had been able to stay up with Boston in the standings.
Except for Marcus Smart, who missed his sixth straight game due to an injured right ankle, the Celtics’ complete rotation was available. As a result, Boston quickly built a 33-7 lead against the Nets, who had only made two of their first fourteen field goal attempts.
When Irving touched the basketball, the Boston fans booed him, reflecting their behaviour on his most recent trips to TD Garden. Irving missed four of his first five attempts.
Tatum outscored the Nets by himself in the final minutes of the first to help Boston lead 46-16 going into the second. Tatum ended with 18 points. For the first time in the history of the team, Boston outscored its opponent by 30 points in the first quarter.
At the half, the Celtics were up 79 to 45.
Nets: In the first quarter, they made 6 of 21 (29%) shots. Warren and Simmons did not go, but coach Jacque Vaughn said that both are making improvement and want to return as soon as this Saturday.
Tatum scored at least 30 points for the 29th time this season against the Celtics. In the first half, Boston outscored the Nets 22-1 on fastbreak points. shot 8 of 11 3-point attempts (8 of 29; 62%) in the first period. Julian Edelman, a former wide receiver with the Patriots, sat courtside.
UP COMING Nets: Play the Washington Wizards on Saturday to kick up a five-game homestand.
The Phoenix Suns will visit the Celtics on Friday.