With their grip on a playoff spot slipping, the Celtics snapped a three-game losing streak in convincing fashion, defeating the fellow Eastern Conference postseason contending Nets 110-91 in Brooklyn on the second night of a back-to-back.

With their grip on a playoff spot slipping, the Celtics snapped a three-game losing streak in convincing fashion, defeating the fellow Eastern Conference postseason contending Nets 110-91 in Brooklyn on the second night of a back-to-back.

The Celtics won on the back end of a back-to-back for the eighth time in nine tries and improved to 31-39, which combined with a loss by the Pacers (30-40) vaults them back into the East’s eighth seed. The Nets dropped to 29-40, and while they remain only a half-game back of the C’s, Boston’s victory gives them a 3-1 head-to-head tiebreaker for the season.

Avery Bradly led all Celtics with 20 points, and Evan Turner submitted a triple-double (19 points, 12 assists, 10 rebounds). Kelly Olynyk and Tyler Zeller each added 18 points, Brandon Bass netted 12 and Jonas Jerebko finished with 10. Seven different Celtics grabbed at least five rebounds.

For a complete box score, click here.

SECOND HELPING

The Celtics submitted a ridiculously efficient second quarter, scoring 31 points on 65 percent shooting, while holding the Nets to a 35 percent clip on the other end. Brandon Bass (3-3 FG), Evan Turner (4-5 FG) and Jonas Jerebko (4-7 FG) each scored eight points in the frame, as the C’s outscored Brooklyn 31-21 and flipped a five-point, first-quarter deficit into a 54-49 advantage entering halftime.

SECOND CHANCES

Given the numbers, the Celtics should have been running the Nets out of the Barclays Center by the break. Boston shot better than 50 percent while holding Brooklyn to 18-for-52 shooting in the opening 24 minutes — including 1-for-8 from 3-point range — and the C’s committed six turnovers leading to just four Nets points in that span. So, how were the visitors only leading by five? Brooklyn grabbed 14 offensive rebounds to Boston’s three, outscoring the Celtics 16-0 in second-chance points. The Celtics made huge strides in that regard in the second half, holding the Nets to four second-chance points on two offensive boards in the final 24 minutes.

TURNING HEADS

Evan Turner had a February to forget in the shooting department, making just 30 percent of 102 attempts in the month. Outside the restricted area, he converted only 19-of-75 shots for a dismal 25.3 percent in those 11 games. But he’s bounced back to respectability in March, entering Monday night’s game having made 43 percent of his attempts this month. He improved upon that mark against the Nets, converting 9-of-13 shots for 19 points to go along with his 12 assists (against two turnovers) and 10 rebounds. The triple-double was just the second of his career, and the other came on Feb. 25.

OH, CANADA

As bad as Turner had been, Kelly Olynyk might’ve been worse. He entered the game shooting just 30 percent from the field, 26 percent on three 3-pointers per game and an underwhelming 54 percent from the line since missing 19 straight games with an ankle injury at midseason. In 17 minutes off the bench against the Nets, he exploded for his most well-rounded performance in months, scoring 18 points on 12 shots, including 3-of-5 shooting from distance. Olynyk added five rebounds, a couple assists and some occasionally solid defense — one aspect of his game the C’s maintain has been much improved this season.

THE CURIOUS CASE OF BROOK LOPEZ

Since the emergence of Mason Plumlee over the summer and for the first half of the season, the Nets nearly parted ways with their 7-foot center for little in return, so it stands to reason his $16.7 million expiring contract could be had this summer. His emergence has coincided with Brooklyn’s resurgence, and he submitted his second 30-point night in three games. On the other hand, Monday also saw the other side of the 2013 NBA All-Star, as seven different Celtics out-rebounded Lopez on the night, raising questions about whether he would be worth any asking price in the offseason.

Blog Author: 
Ben Rohrbach

Brad Stevens is obviously a historian of buzzer-beaters.

His Butler Bulldogs almost pulled out the most dramatic last-second shot in NCAA tournament history when Gordon Hayward’s bank shot from half-court went off the front rim and out in the 2010 NCAA tournament final.

More recently, he’s seen Evan Turner do the trick for and against his team many times. There was the game-winner against his Celtics for the Sixers last season at TD Garden in a 95-94 Philly win. Later that season, Turner did it again against the Nets. That late-game magic may have been one of the reasons Danny Ainge wanted to bring Turner to Boston this season.

It’s worked pretty well. Three times this season, he’s beaten the buzzer at the end of regulation. Twice it won games, and once it sent the game into overtime. Against two of the top teams in the NBA, it provided the winning margin, as the Celtics beat the Trail Blazers and Hawks this season.

So naturally, with Sunday’s game against the Pistons tied, 88-88, at the end of regulation, Stevens looked to ET for another otherworldly end to a game.

“We just wanted to do a little misdirection for Evan to drive and let him create space,” Stevens said. “I thought if he gets that shot off, that’€™s his shot. I felt good about it to be honest, it didn’€™t end well because it got knocked out of his hand or maybe it even slipped out of his hand; I haven’€™t seen the replay. I thought he had separation and I thought he was going to get a good look and when the clock was winding down I felt pretty good about our chances.”

As it turned out, fate was not on Boston’s side Sunday night. Turner couldn’t get a clean shot off because he could never get a grip.

“Part of the ball just slipped out of my hand and I knew Reggie [Jackson] was going to try and contest it. I tried to put a little arc on my shot. When I came up with it, it just slipped. He drew up a good play. Kelly did what he was supposed to do down there. I felt confident but the ball slipped. I felt confident going to the right baseline and doing a pull-up. I’ve done that shot a million times but unfortunately the ball slipped and we couldn’t [regroup].”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

Marcus Smart may insist that his shot to the groin of Matt Bonner Friday night was an accident. But the NBA didn’t see it that way. His coach didn’t see it that way and, as it turns out, his teammates didn’t exactly see it that way.

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

Gerald Wallace played just 12 minutes and scored just two points in Boston’s dreadful 105-97 overtime loss Sunday night to the Pistons at TD Garden.

But what he told the team afterward could prove to be his most important contribution. The Celtics were coming off two losses in Oklahoma City and San Antonio but appeared back on track when they went up 10 points twice in the third quarter.

But the Pistons got hot in the fourth quarter to tie the game and the Celtics went ice cold in overtime. The result the Celtics fell to 30-39 and out of playoff position in the Eastern Conference. The Celtics are now tied with the Pacers in the East, each team a half game behind the 30-38 Charlotte Hornets for the eighth and final spot.

It was time for the 32-year-old Wallace to speak to his teammates.

“I told the guys that we have to more serious because giving away games like this or losing games like this, we don’t have the length of the schedule [remaining] to kind of make up games,” Wallace said. “Every game counts right now. We have to take it one game at a time and take care of those games.”

What was the reaction to Wallace’s message?

“I think everybody understood by the way everybody felt,” Wallace said. “They kind of felt this loss. They know that we weren’t supposed to lose this game. We already had two tough games on the road. Coming home, with the way our schedule is, this was a game we had to win, we needed to win. I think they understand we gave this game away and we have to take advantage of them.

“We have [13] games left. Probably out of those 13 games, nine or 10 of those games are [against] playoff teams or teams that are fighting us for that playoff position. They’re competing and they’re fighting just as hard as we are. We’ve got to understand that we just can’t anticipate just showing up and expecting to win the ballgame.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

At the trade deadline, the Celtics received the hidden gems of Luigi Datome and Jonas Jerebko from Detroit. Sunday night, the C’s returned the favor, giving away the game to the Pistons.

BOSTON-At the trade deadline, the Celtics received the hidden gems of Luigi Datome and Jonas Jerebko from Detroit; tonight, the C’s returned the favor, giving away the game to the Pistons.

After leading for the majority of the game, the Celtics (30-39) struggled down the stretch especially offensively, as the team scored 19 points in the forth quarter and only 9 in overtime. Evan Turner led the Celtics with 23 points, while the rest of the starters Jae Crowder (19), Brandon Bass (13) Tyler Zeller (10), and Avery Bradley (10) all finished in double-figures.

In the victory, Reggie Jackson almost had a triple double, contributing 17 points, 11 assists, and 9 rebonds for the Pistons (24-44). Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored a game-high 27 points and Andre Drummond had a double-double, grabbing a 22 rebounds and 18 points.

See the full box score here.

EVAN TURNER RUNS THE POINT
With Marcus Smart serving a one-game suspension, Evan Turner was listed as the starting point guard. Turner had a very balanced and proficient performance, finishing with 23 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists, and 3 steals. The polarizing guard, who Jackie MacMullan brilliantly described on the broadcast as an ‘€œacquired taste,’€ even limited his turnovers, only coughing up the rock twice in 38 minutes. Despite the good performance, Bad-Evan reared his ugly head, as the ball slipped out of his hands on the game-winning attempt at the end of regulation.

JAE CROWDER’€™S EXCELLENT SECOND QUARTER
After missing his first five shots of the game, Jae Crowder decided to attack the rim and ended up having a terrific second quarter. He scored half of the Celtics 24 points, drawing two fouls by making aggressive cuts towards the basket. He went 3 for 4 from the charity stripe and also knocked down an open three.

HACK-A-DRUMMOND WORKS BRIEFLY
In his short career, Andre Drummond has already established himself as one of the worst free-throw shooters in NBA history. Brad Stevens used this to advantage, deciding to foul the big man early and often. The poorly named strategy paid off, as Drummond went 2 for 11 from the charity stripe. Despite his struggles from the line, the Pistons center finished with an impressive 18 points, 22 rebounds, and 4 blocks. The Celtics went away from the strategy in the final frame, but it would not have helped their poor offensive performance.

NO REVENGE FOR GIGI AND JONAS
There was some talk heading into this game that Gigi Datome and Jonas Jerebko had something to prove against their old team; Especially Datome, who only saw 17 minutes on the floor during his time with the Pistons. Jerebko was maybe trying too hard tonight, only hitting 3 of his 11 shots, although he did contribute 8 rebounds. Datome didn’€™t register on the box score, only playing five minutes.

GERALD WALLACE: ORIGINAL GANGSTA
Playing 12 minutes, Wallace added much needed energy off the bench. On one possession, the OG out-hustled a pair of Pistons to grab two offensive rebounds before finishing with a put-back. Wallace finished with 7 rebounds and 2 points.

Blog Author: 
Sam Packard

A cheap shot to the groin will cost Marcus Smart – and the Celtics – one game.

A cheap shot to the groin will cost Marcus Smart – and the Celtics – one game.

The NBA announced Saturday that it has suspended the Celtics point guard for Sunday’s game against the Pistons for a flagrant-2 foul committed in Friday’s loss in San Antonio.

Smart hit Spurs forward Matt Bonner in the groin area midway through the fourth quarter and was automatically ejected.

Smart said after the game that he was trying to rip through a Bonner screen and had accidentally hit him. Video replay clearly shows Smart winding up and punching him as he’s trying to fight through.

This was the second time this month that Smart was ejected for a flagrant foul. With injured guard Isaiah Thomas still out, Phil Pressey is expected to get more playing time.

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia