By MyFM's Jake Archer - The Boston Celtics finished up the regular season the other night with a 110-97 win over the lowly Brooklyn Nets. Despite resting Al Horford, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Terry Rozier and Marcus Morris, the Celtics still found a way to get their 55th win of the season. Considering all that has happened to this team, 55 wins is a major accomplishment. If Brad Stevens doesn't take home the Coach of the Year award, we riot.
The starters for Boston were Guerschon Yabusele, Jabari Bird, Abdel Nader, Shane Larking and Aron Baynes. That lineup really wasn't worse than what the Nets put out on the court as their usual five. Anyway, Baynes (who was the one regular to stay in the lineup) had a huge night with a double-double at halftime. He dropped a career-high 26 points to lead all scorers, grabbed 14 rebounds and dished out two assists. That all happened in only 20 minutes of play. Larkin, Yabusele and Jonathan Gibson were the only other Celtics in double figures, but each player got some good run that they normally wouldn't get. Hopefully that helps out the bench depth moving forward.
Brooklyn was led by Nik Stauskas, who put up 18 points off of the bench. Allen Crabbe, Caris LeVert, D'Angelo Russell and Jarrett Allen were the only other Nets to score double digit points. Even though the Nets have improved somewhat (28-54 which is 12th in the East) they still are surprisingly bad. The roster is terrible, and the fact that they actually put out a worse product than the Celtics do when they play all bottom-of-the-rotation guys is a joke. They are almost exactly the opposite of the Celtics, with Boston finishing at 55-27.
The loss snapped a three-game winning streak for a Nets team that is probably trying to lose. They aren't even doing a good job of that! They also were swept by the Celtics in their four-game season series and dropped their ninth straight to Boston. After the C's took an early lead, they really just cruised the whole way. Now they will turn their attention to their first round series with the Milwaukee Bucks that begins on Sunday in Boston at 1 p.m.
Milwaukee is a very talented group led by one of the best players in the whole NBA, Giannis Antetokounmpo. Apparently they, like all of the other teams, are excited to draw Boston because of the injuries the Celtics are dealing with. I think they'll regret feeling that way because I don't see the C's being an easy team to play against at all. Neither does Kenny Atkinson, the Nets head coach who said that they will be tough for anyone because they are "the best defensive team in the league." I agree, and the official prediction for the series is Celtics in 6. I'll be in attendance on Sunday afternoon and while I'm excited to see Giannis play, I'm more jacked up about the now-underdog Celtics. It's time for them to surprise everyone and make a run without Kyrie or Hayward. It's going to be fun to watch these other guys get an opportunity, no doubt.