Celtics Continue Playoff Hunt, Beat Nets 110-91
Evan Turner had 19 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds, and the Boston Celtics beat the Brooklyn Nets 110-91 on Monday night to snap a three-game losing streak that had dropped them out of playoff position.
Avery Bradley scored 20 points to lead the Celtics, who entered a half-game behind Charlotte for the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference. They had a chance to be right back in the final East spot if the Hornets lost in Chicago.
Tyler Zeller and Kelly Olynyk each had 18 points for Boston, which bounced back from a 105-97 overtime loss to Detroit at home on Sunday. Coach Brad Stevens said he felt his players tightened up in that game, but they had a mostly stress-free second half Monday after quickly pulling away in the third quarter.
Brook Lopez scored 31 points for the Nets, who had won two in a row to give themselves renewed playoff hopes. But they endured bad nights all over the roster, from Joe Johnson (3 for 11) to Jarrett Jack (1 for 9) to Alan Anderson (2 for 9).
Boston claimed the tiebreaker by winning the season series, 3-1 and moves on to another important game Wednesday at home against Miami. The Nets head to Charlotte and probably welcome another key game on the road after falling to 12-20 in their home arena.
Boston scored nine straight to open a 71-57 cushion midway through the third quarter, and when the Nets trimmed it to five, the Celtics responded by pushing it back to double digits in the final minute of the period before taking an 83-74 lead into the fourth.
Zeller made all five shots for 10 points in 10 minutes of the third quarter, then Olynyk scored seven straight early in the fourth to give the Celtics their largest lead at 96-80 with 8:19 to play.
Marcus Smart was back for Boston after being suspended one game for punching San Antonio's Matt Bonner in the groin, which Stevens called an "unacceptable play." Smart started but was replaced by Jae Crowder to open the third quarter.
Deron Williams had 10 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds for the Nets.