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Streaking Nets face road test against Celtics

Nov 8, 2023; Brooklyn, New York, USA;  Brooklyn Nets guard Lonnie Walker IV (8) reacts after being fouled in the second quarter against the LA Clippers at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The Brooklyn Nets will attempt to extend their road winning streak to four games when they visit the Boston Celtics on Friday night.

After starting the season with back-to-back losses, the Nets posted road wins against Charlotte (133-121), Miami (109-105) and Chicago (109-107). Brooklyn then lost two in a row at home before beating the Los Angeles Clippers 109-103 at home on Wednesday.

The Nets trailed 21-13 after the first quarter of Wednesday’s win, but they outscored the Clippers in each of the next three quarters.

“I think we were pretty stagnant at the beginning of the game — just overall offensively,” Nets coach Jacque Vaughn said. “And that affected us on both ends of the floor. Thirteen points … give credit to our guys for responding in that second quarter. I think we had 33 (points). So we go into halftime feeling pretty good about ourselves that we could play better.”

The Nets received 45 points from their bench players, including 21 from Lonnie Walker IV. Cam Thomas scored 14 points in the first half but had to leave the game early in the third quarter with a sprained left ankle. Thomas, the Nets’ leading scorer at 26.9 points per game, will miss at least two weeks after an MRI confirmed the injury Thursday.

This will be Brooklyn’s second NBA in-season tournament game. The victory at Chicago was the first. It’s the first in-season tournament game for Boston, which will be trying to end a two-game losing streak.

The Celtics opened the season with five consecutive victories, but that streak ended with a 114-109 overtime loss at Minnesota on Monday. Boston also dropped a 106-103 decision to Philadelphia on Wednesday.

Kristaps Porzingis led the Celtics with 29 points and Derrick White finished with 19. White returned to the team after missing two games for the birth of his second child.

Jaylen Brown hit a step-back 3 that cut Philadelphia’s lead to 106-103, but Porzingis missed a 3-point attempt in the final seconds. The Celtics were 15 of 47 from 3-point range.

“I kind of went into it like it was a mid-range shot,” Porzingis said. “I jumped a little higher and I usually don’t do that for 3s. I just shot it bad. As soon as it left my hand, I felt it was short. It was a good look, clean look. … A good look like that at the end to tie the game? That’s all we can ask for.”

Boston’s Jayson Tatum had 16 points, 15 rebounds and six assists in the loss. It was the third time in his NBA career that he’s had at least 15 points, 15 rebounds and five assists in a game.

“I thought we played the right way,” Boston coach Joe Mazulla said. “We had well-balanced scoring. I thought we executed. I thought we were connected on the defensive end of the floor.”

Tatum scored a game-high 32 points and had 11 rebounds when the Celtics beat the Nets 124-114 earlier this season. He was one of five Boston players who scored in double figures during that win. Thomas led Brooklyn with 27.

–Field Level Media

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