D’Angelo Russell scored 20 of his 29 points in another blistering third quarter against Boston, leading the Brooklyn Nets to a 110-96 victory over the short-handed Celtics on Saturday night.
Back from a seven-game trip that lasted more than two weeks, the Nets had a happy homecoming thanks largely to Russell, who added 10 assists and finished with 25 points after halftime.
It was the third straight time he hurt the Celtics in the third quarter, and the Nets really needed this one after going 2-5 on the road and dropping into seventh place in the Eastern Conference.
Caris LeVert added 15 points for the Nets, who had dropped the final two games of the trip and still face a tough stretch now that they’re back home.
Gordon Hayward scored 19 points for the Celtics, who rested Kyrie Irving and Al Horford on the second night of back-to-back games after a big victory over Indiana a night earlier.
They led early and trailed by only one at halftime before Russell heated up.
Russell hit his first 3-pointer of the game to open the scoring in the second half, and soon after he would take over. Mixing in mid-range jumpers with 3-pointers, he scored 14 points during Brooklyn’s 17-5 surge that extended a seven-point lead to 76-57.
He previously had an 18-point third and a 14-point one against the Celtics this season, and Boston couldn’t do anything about him this time, either.
The Nets were held to 17 points in the first quarter, just one above their season worst, and trailed by four. Boston then opened the second with seven straight points to make it 28-17, but Brooklyn put together a good finish to the half to pull ahead 49-48 at the break.
Celtics: Jayson Tatum, who was listed as questionable after feeling ill Friday night and earlier Saturday, started and scored nine points in 30 minutes. … Marcus Morris and Daniel Theis each scored 16 points.
Nets: Russell had made a 3-pointer in 56 straight games dating to Nov. 25, passing James Harden and Paul George for the longest streak in the NBA this season. … Starting F Rodians Kurucs missed the second half with a bruised right knee.
Irving and Russell are the only two players in the East averaging at least 20 points and seven assists.
Celtics: Host Miami on Monday.
Nets: Host Milwaukee on Monday.