Shortly after the final buzzer, the Boston Celtics were ready to move on from the intensity of another game with the Miami Heat while appreciating the physicality of Jaylen Brown in an exchange with Duncan Robinson in the fourth quarter on Sunday.
After a pair of close wins that saw their composure tested late, the Celtics attempt to push their winning streak to five games Tuesday night when they visit the Brooklyn Nets.
The Celtics are 15-6 over their past 21 since winning six straight Dec. 20-31 and are attempting to win five straight for the fifth time this season. Boston’s current streak started with a 40-point win over the Memphis Grizzlies on Feb. 4, and the Celtics won their next three over the Atlanta Hawks, Washington Wizards and Heat by a combined 18 points.
After surviving Washington’s late comeback in a 133-129 win on Friday, the Celtics kept the streak going with a 110-106 win at Miami on Sunday. Boston held a 15-point lead early in the third and a 12-point edge early in the fourth before holding on.
Shortly after holding a 12-point lead, Brown was called for a flagrant foul when he collided with Robinson. The Celtics were outscored 17-10 until getting two defensive stops in the final 61 seconds.
“I enjoy watching physicality with poise, and I thought our guys did that throughout tonight,” Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla said Sunday. “You obviously need to rise to the occasion, and I thought that it goes back to the expectation.”
Besides the composure down the stretch, the Celtics were aided by an offense that shot 50.6 percent and hit 16 3-pointers. The Celtics improved to 22-1 when shooting at least 50 percent and 30-4 when making at least 16 3s.
Jayson Tatum led the Celtics with 26 and is averaging 28.8 points during the winning streak. Kristaps Porzingis added 25 and is averaging 29 during the winning streak.
Including a four-game sweep in the opening round of the 2022 playoffs, the Celtics are 12-1 in the past 13 meetings with the Nets. Boston is also on a seven-game winning streak in Brooklyn. Tatum scored 32 in Boston’s 124-114 win there on Nov. 4.
The Nets are playing their second game with new acquisition Dennis Schroder and hoping to get rolling after earning a 123-103 win over the San Antonio Spurs on Saturday.
The Nets are 6-11 in a 17-game stretch in which they have played 12 home games. They play 14 of their next 20 on the road after Tuesday.
On Saturday, Schroder made a successful debut for his new team with 15 points and 12 assists in 27 minutes, highlighting his effort with a lob that led to a Nic Claxton alley-oop dunk at the end of the third quarter.
“Just be aggressive, try to find my open teammates, push it in transition, play defense,” Schroder said. “They made it easy for me, but … I’m glad that we won the game.”
Cam Thomas led the Nets with 25 points after following up a 40-point showing by shooting 29 percent (16 of 55) in Brooklyn’s three-game skid to Cleveland, Dallas and Golden State.
Perhaps the most encouraging sign for Brooklyn was Ben Simmons continuing his ramp-up after missing 38 games with a back injury. Simmons added 13 in 22 minutes and was constantly showing aggressiveness in a game where Brooklyn matched a season best by shooting 56.3 percent.