Boston, MA —Whenever Kyrie Irving comes to town and play on the famous parquet floor at TD Garden there always seems to be some controversy.
Kemba Walker who replaced Irving at the point in Boston was sidelined to rehab his left knee, the Celtics were simply outplayed by the Nets by their superstars. The two repeatedly created and made shots all over the court, despite Boston playing great defense, they was left grasping for answers.
The game began after a moment of silence for former Celtics player and coach K.C. Jones, who died Friday.
Kyrie Irving scored 37 points, while Kevin Durant chipped in 29, as Brooklyn erased a halftime deficit (54-51) to come back against the Celtics in a 123-95 victory.
The two teams split the series 2-2 last season, but both teams look a little different since last season. Boston have added Tristan Thompson and Jeff Teague along with a few rookies.
“It was nothing tactical going into the second half,” said Irving, it was really up to us to make high basketball IQ plays and then be able to stop them on the defensive end.”
Brooklyn game plan in the second half was very easy, was simply to get Irving or Durant the ball and let them work the court. When a team has two of the best isolation players in the league, it is easy to draw plays on the board.
“They’re very capable of pouring it on,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said. “I think Brooklyn is the deepest team in the NBA and certainly is in the conversation to be the best.”
Durant scored 16 points in the third quarter, Brooklyn outscored the Celtics 35-23 to turn a three-point deficit into an 86-77 lead. He scored nine straight points at the beginning of the third when the Nets took the lead for good.
Jarrett Allen had 11 boards for Brooklyn, who remained undefeated so far this season and gave Boston its first loss. Irving was 7 of 10 from beyond the arc in his first regular-season game at TD Garden since he opted out of his Celtics contract in 2019.
“We’re going to continue to see them. We’re in the same division,” Irving said, adding that there was “nothing added” to his motivation in playing his former team.
It was 86-79 early in the fourth when Brooklyn, even with Irving and Durant on the bench, the Nets scored nine in a row to open a 16-point lead.
Jaylen Brown scored 27 points with eight boards for Boston and Jayson Tatum chippeed in 20 points and eight boards. The Celtics beat Milwaukee in their opener on Wednesday on Tatum’s last-second shot over Giannis Antetokonmpo.
“The benefit of playing these two games against two other great teams is that it forces you to be better,” Celtics guard Marcus Smart said. “It tests you to see where you’re at, it sets the bar, and now you know what you have to strive for.”
In the second half, Irving and Durant went on a tear split 40 points on 15-for-21 shooting — including 6-for-7 from the downtown.
The Celtics, as a team, only scored 41 points after halftime.
With the victory, Brooklyn is now 2-0 on the young season, while the Celtics fall to 1-1. The dynamic duo of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving led the way for Brooklyn, as the two combined for 66 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds. Caris LeVert also haf 10 points off the bench for the Nets.
“It wasn’t like the defense was stifling,” Jaylen Brown said. “We got open looks and we’ve got to knock them down — step in with confidence and knock them down. I think if we can do that, the narrative is a little bit different.”