July 12th, 2013.
That’s a date that should make you cringe if you are a Nets fan. That’s the date that Celtics GM Danny Ainge snatched the future of the newly conceived Brookyln Nets and put it on a shelf at 100 Legends Way, Boston MA. For the time being it still sits on that shelf waiting to come to fruition.
The Brooklyn Nets are the worst team in the NBA (sorry, Philly I don’t even count your team as part of the league anymore). The worst part for Nets fans? Brooklyn’s future looks bleak as their first round draft picks sit in the hands of Danny Ainge like a handful of seeds waiting to blossom into a fruitful orchard.
A Nets team without Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, or Jason Terry lost to the Celtics 120-95 on Friday night at TD Garden.
One of the deepest teams in basketball, the Celtics bench outscored the Nets bench 60-40 and that was with Boston’s typical sixth man, point guard Isaiah Thomas, starting the game because of an injury to second-year point guard Marcus Smart. Thomas finished with 18 points and 9 assists.
Thomas is one example of how the Celtics are trending upward. Ainge traded for the 5’9” point guard last spring and Thomas has found his niche here in Boston. On the other hand, Joe Johnson, the Nets most prized acquisition, finished the game with 3 points on 1-for-5 shooting.
Sunday night the Celtics visited the state-of-the-art Barclays Center for their second match-up with the Nets and the second game in a weekend home-and-home series. The Nets were able to avenge their Friday night loss with a 111-101 victory.
Offensively, the Celtics played well and got a season-high 27 points from Avery Bradley, but on the defensive side of the ball, the Celtics REALLY struggled as Brook Lopez torched Boston down low for 23 points with point guard Jarrett Jack adding 22 points and 4 assists. As fans saw earlier in the season when San Antonio’s LaMarcus Aldridge tore up the Celtics, Lopez took advantage of a Boston team that lacks a premiere rim protector.
Online reports have pointed to Amir Johnson as the orchestrator for a Celtics defense that ranks in the top of the league. Sort of the captain of the ship. Johnson’s role allows guys like Jae Crowder to lead the league in steals but Johnson’s role as a paint defender will be crucial in match ups against the top centers and power forwards in the league going forward. It doesn’t help that Tyler Zeller has all but disappeared from this team.
But, as always its good to look for a silver lining in a loss…Brooklyn’s lottery picks still sit on that shelf at TD Garden.