The Boston Celtics have lost two of their past three games.
But the most disappointing thing about it all is that they’re the ones who have lost the past two.
It was a tough game, one that was won by the visiting Brooklyn Nets.
The Celtics scored a season-high 36 points, but their defense was the difference in a 112-106 victory on Saturday night.
They held Brooklyn to a season low in points and rebounding.
The Celtics’ first half performance was a big one.
They scored 14 points in the first 5:08, but they could not get it going in the second half.
The Nets shot a season high 37.5 percent from the field in the opening period, but that would have been much better against the Celtics.
The team went 8 for 13 from the free throw line in the period.
Brooklyn shot 49.9 percent from behind the arc, but the Celtics shot 37.7 percent overall.
The Nets have been able to take advantage of the Celtics’ poor shooting.
They’ve had four games this season in which they’ve gone for at least 50 percent from beyond the arc.
The most recent one came on Dec. 19 when they scored 52 points on 18-of-26 shooting.
Brook Lopez, the Nets’ rookie point guard, scored a career-high 21 points, while Brook Turner added 19 points.
The three-time All-Star had seven rebounds and three assists.
The rest of the Nets were able to contain the Celtics on offense, particularly in the paint, but it was not enough.
The biggest concern for the Celtics was that their shooting has not been good.
They shot a combined 42.9 from the floor in the past four games, the third-lowest shooting percentage in the NBA.
They’re shooting 36.6 percent in the last two games.
Brook’s struggles continued on Saturday.
He had five turnovers and one turnover-free game.
He also had eight assists.
He’s averaging 9.4 assists per game over his past three.
But he also has a career high in turnovers and a career low in field goal percentage (39.5).
He shot 28.6 from the line, which was his lowest percentage of the season.
He scored 19 points in his first game back from a sprained left ankle.
But in a loss to the Brooklyn Nets, he scored just seven points on 2-of:2 shooting.
He was able to return on Saturday because of the injury, but he also played in just one game in the previous two weeks.
Coach Brad Stevens did not go into his postgame media session until the last minute.
He said that he didn’t want to rush the process.
I think we had a pretty good start, I think our guys showed some good defensive composure, and I think we made some good plays defensively,” Stevens said.”
We knew we had to take care of business in the fourth quarter and we did that.
“The Celtics won in the closing seconds, but Brooklyn was able just to survive in the third quarter.
The third quarter was one of the more exciting parts of the game.
The second quarter was pretty much the same as it has been all season, with the Nets struggling to score.
The last time the Celtics lost by 20 or more points in a game was Nov. 14, 2016, when they lost to the San Antonio Spurs 107-103.
This was a game that was built on good play, not a series of missed shots.
The Brooklyn Nets made just 2 of 17 shots in the final frame.
The first half was a great example of what a good Celtics team can do in the postseason.
They dominated the Nets in the early going and came out of the second quarter with a 10-point lead.
The second half was just as dominant, as the Nets only scored three points in one period.
They went on a 14-2 run to start the third to put the game away.
The lead grew to 18 midway through the fourth, and Boston took a 21-point advantage into the fourth.
The Brooklyn Nets took control early on, taking advantage of their lack of offensive rebounding to get to the line for several easy baskets.
The two-minute mark ended with the Celtics shooting 54 percent.
Brook shot 39.3 percent from three-point range, the lowest percentage in four games.
They were able with a small sample size to improve their field goal percentages.
They had just eight made field goals.
Boston also took advantage of Brooklyn’s poor shooting in the middle of the fourth by getting buckets.
The final margin of the third was 21 points.
It was a very difficult game for both teams.
The good news for the Boston Celtics is that coach Brad Stevens is getting ready to start a new era, and the players have a chance to have a great season.
The bad news is that it’s likely that the team will be a lot worse in the playoffs than they were last season.