The Nets followed the biggest NBA upset of the last 27 years by giving up the second-most regulation points in team history.
All those good vibes the Nets had after Tuesday’s win over Milwaukee got flushed a day later with this humbling loss to Boston.
The Nets got crushed 149-115 by the Celtics on Wednesday night at ESPN Wide World of Sports.
They coughed up the fifth-most points in franchise history, and second-most in a regulation game, only after surrendering 151 to the Spurs back in 1978. They set defense back over 40 years on Wednesday.
The Nets also squandered a chance to punch their ticket to the postseason.
They stayed in seventh place in the Eastern Conference halfway through the NBA restart in Disney. They’re still clinging to a half-game lead on the Magic, whom they face in next Tuesday’s penultimate regular-season game.
Still, they Nets had taken the court with a chance to clinch a postseason berth, their magic number down to just one after Washington already had lost. But they never even came close to beating Boston, whom they stunned in their last meeting.
“Overall, we talked about it as an organization that the standard, the goals wouldn’t change just because some of our roster changed coming to Orlando,” said interim Jacque Vaughn, who had lost Kyrie Irving, Spencer Dinwiddie, DeAndre Jordan and Taurean Prince before the restart even began. “We were coming to compete and win every basketball game. So, that hasn’t changed.”
After trailing the Celtics by 21 midway through the third quarter on March 3, the Nets stormed back to win at TD Garden. Caris LeVert had poured in a career-high 51 points, including 37 in the fourth quarter and overtime.
But there was no repeat performance Wednesday night as the Nets trailed by 34 in the fourth.
LeVert, Joe Harris and Jarrett Allen missed Tuesday’s win over Milwaukee, the biggest point spread upset in 27 years. The Nets’ Bubble Big 3 were all back against Boston, but it hardly mattered.
Harris had 14 points and LeVert 13, but the Nets were outclassed. They couldn’t run the Celtics off the 3-point line, watching them hit a season-high 20-of-39 from deep. They couldn’t keep the Celtics off the free throw line, watching them go 29-of-35 from the charity stripe while they were just 17-of-21 themselves.
The Nets actually caught a couple of breaks with star Kemba Walker sitting out to rest the second night of Boston’s back-to-back, and Jayson Tatum (19 points) not playing the entire second quarter after picking up three quick fouls in just six minutes. Turns out the Celtics didn’t need either.
Though the Nets briefly led 24-23 on a Chris Chiozza finger roll with 2:21 left in the first quarter, they proceeded to cough up an extended 20-1 run that spanned deep into the second.
By the time Boston’s Brad Wanamaker hit a pullup jumper with 10:16 in the half, the Nets had lost the plot. They trailed 43-25, and it only got worse from there.
The deficit hit 21 on an Enes Kanter and-one with 6:07 left in the half and again on a 3 by Jaylen Brown (game-high 21) that made it 62-41. Though the clock said there was 5:16 left in the half, reality said the game was long since over.
After having played a clean game against Milwaukee’s league-leading defense with just seven turnovers, they committed a dozen in the first half alone just a day later. They eventually fell behind 134-113 on a Wanamaker bucket in the late stages, and never looked competitive.
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