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The All-Star hiatus is over and we’re back on the move with this unique NBA season. On Thursday night, two of the top Eastern Conference teams met for a primetime game that lived up to expectations In the final minutes of the game, the Brooklyn Nets retired for a 121-109 win over the Boston Celtics

Kevin Durant missed again with a hamstring injury, but Kyrie Irving stepped up in his absence, leading with 40 points, eight rebounds and three assists James Harden scored 22 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists in an almost triple-double while Landry Shamet scored six 3-point hits and threw 18 points off the bench

The Celtics had their moments but they just didn’t have enough answers on either side of the ball down the track Jayson Tatum put on 31 points and Marcus Smart added 19 points on his return from the bench but the rest of the team struggled Jaylen Brown and Kemba Walker together shot 10 of 35 off the field and it’s hard to win when that happens

The Nets are extremely wary of Kevin Durant’s hamstring injury, which is why he missed his tenth straight game on Thursday night that put additional pressure on Brooklyn stars James Harden and Kyrie Irving to step up, the latter certainly having his part to play contributed

Irving shot 15 of 23 out of the field and finished the race with 40 points, combining the season high he set against the Kings last month, The All-Star Guard was at his best in this case and took advantage of it his dazzling combination of dribbling and shooting to unbalance the Celtics’ defenses and unsure of his next move

He did his best in the fourth quarter with the Celtics hanging around for the final minutes, Irving hit two 3s and scored eight points in 90 seconds to put the game out of reach

In late January, the Celtics were embroiled in a close battle with the Lakers when Marcus Smart went down screaming in pain, grabbing his left leg near the calf and achilles tendon area and due to the repetitions and his reaction, everyone feared the worst, the good The news was that he hadn’t turned his Achilles, but he had torn the calf, which kept him on the edge for almost six weeks

He made his long-awaited return on Thursday night, despite being capped at 21 minutes, and will hover in the 20-22 range for at least the next couple of games, despite that, Smart found a way to make his usual impact even in shorter stays He finished with 19 points, two rebounds and two assists, and as head coach Brad Stevens put it, “He’s done a lot of good things””

It’s no secret that Smart is the heart and soul of this Celtics team, and they sorely missed his energy and defensive skills during his absence.Now that he’s back we are finally going to be the Celtics in full strength Before Thursday night, Smart, Tatum, Brown and Walker had only played 28 minutes together all season, which is a main reason they are barely over 500

The Nets have one of the best offensive units ever, and the 3-point shot is an important part of their attack. They are seventh in the league with 37 attempts per game per second in efficiency, making 40 8 percent of that look If they can hold that level, they’ll join the 2013 and 2016 Warriors as the only teams in the past decade to shoot over 40 percent of 3 for the season

On Thursday they had one of their best shooting nights of the season, walking 19 of 42 from downtown to beat the Celtics in that division by 18 points.It’s tough for opponents to pull that kind of deficit out of the 3-point Conquering land and it was a main reason for the victory of the nets

But aside from the sheer number of 3s that hit the nets, it was striking who was making them of course Joe Harris and Kyrie Irving went on, but the bench was the star of the show from the outside Landry Shamet was in with six triples Leading the season, and the nets’ reserves shot up 10 out of 16 from the depths It was a great performance by Shamet and Co, especially when Durant isn’t playing

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World news – USA – Nets versus Celtics takeaways: Kyrie Irving shows Brooklyn to lead Brooklyn past Boston