If tonight's slaughtering was any indication, the Boston Celtics (7-5) plan to do whatever they can to ensure that the unprotected first-round selection in this summer's draft that they are set to receive from the Brooklyn Nets (2-11) is a high one.
Bolstered by a scintillating offensive performance in which they shot 59 percent from the field, made 10 three-pointers and dropped an impeccable 39 assists, Boston blew past the scuffling Nets 120-95 on Friday night at the TD Garden.
Celtics shooting guard Avery Bradley, who has erupted for multiple impressive scoring performances off of the bench after recovering from injury this week, led the team with 21 points on 10-for-13 shooting, adding two steals to his totals.
Small forward Jae Crowder (19 points on 8-for-12 shooting, three treys, four rebounds) and point guard Isaiah Thomas (18 points, four three-pointers, nine assists) anchored Boston's starting cast, while power forward David Lee contributed 11 points and small forward Evan Turner added 12 points, seven assists, and five rebounds off of the bench.
While Brooklyn managed to shoot a respectable 39 percent from the field while hitting on 42 percent of their three-point attempts, their lackadaisical approach to protecting the rock on the offensive end signaled their downfall. The Nets turned it over on 19 separate occasions, making it difficult for them to sustain any consistent presence on that end of the floor.
Small forward Thaddeus Young (10 rebounds) and center Brook Lopez (seven rebounds) led the team with 14 points apiece, while rookie shooting guard Rondae Hollis-Jefferson garnered 13 points and point guard Jarrett Jack recorded 11 points.
Brooklyn played evenly with Boston for much of the early portion of the contest, trailing by just four points after the first quarter. After a jump shot by shooting guard Bogdan Bogdanovic with 6:07 remaining in the second quarter, the Nets found themselves down just 40-35, still in contention to steal a victory.
However, the suffocating Celtics attack took control from there. Thomas rattled off eight consecutive Boston points before Crowder drilled a three to give his team a commanding 51-37 advantage with 3:41 left in the half.
After a bucket by Young to cut the Boston lead to 51-40, Crowder hit a three-pointer, Bradley knocked down a pair of two-pointers, Thomas converted on two subsequent treys and center Jared Sullinger finished a layup off of a Thomas assist, providing the Celtics with a convincing 66-42 lead heading into halftime.
The differential in hustle and effort which led to the Celtics victory can be summarized perfectly by one play which took place with just over nine minutes remaining in the third quarter.
After corralling a missed three-pointer by Crowder, Lopez handed the ball off to Jack just in front of the Celtics basket. Unsuspecting of the oncoming defender, Jack began to dribble forward. However, Crowder then swooped in, picked Jack's pocket and tossed up a successful floater, giving Boston a 75-48 advantage that they would not relinquish.