Jaylen Brown scored 21 points as the host Boston Celtics seized control in the first quarter and cruised to a 149-115 victory over the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday night near Orlando.
The Celtics rested Kemba Walker and turned in perhaps their best defensive showing since the restart and rebounded from Tuesday's loss to Miami, a game in which they never held a lead.
Brown made 7 of 13 shots and hit five 3-pointers as the Celtics shot 56.8 percent (50 of 88), hit 20 3-pointers and never led by fewer than 17 points in the second half.
Jayson Tatum added 14 of his 19 in the third quarter when Boston led by as many as 30 points. He shot 7 of 11 and also hit five 3-pointers.
Gordon Hayward fueled the beginning of Boston's surge and added 18 as the Celtics (45-23) moved two games ahead of Miami for third place in the East.
Robert Williams III contributed 18 on 7-of-7 shooting while Brad Wanamaker and Marcus Smart chipped in 13 and 12 respectively as Boston set a season high for points.
Coming off a stunning three-point win over league-leading Milwaukee on Tuesday afternoon, the Nets (32-36) were outplayed for most of the game, getting outscored 126-91 in the final 38:14 and were unable to clinch a playoff spot. Brooklyn remained a half-game ahead of eighth-seeded Orlando, which lost to Toronto earlier Wednesday.
Jeremiah Martin led Brooklyn with 18 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter as the Nets shot 47.4 percent but misfired on 24 of 32 3-point tries.
Brooklyn's Joe Harris, Caris LeVert and Jarrett Allen returned from sitting out Tuesday's game due to minor injuries and rest but could not get into a rhythm.
Harris scored 14 points while LeVert added 13 nearly five months after scoring a career-high 51 points in Brooklyn's overtime win in Boston. Allen collected 11 and eight rebounds.
Despite Tatum picking up three fouls, the Celtics ended the first quarter on an 11-1 run over the final 2:14 and held a 34-25 lead. Boston scored the first nine points of the second and held a 43-25 on a jumper by Wanamaker with 10:16 left and by halftime the Celtics maintained a 71-52 edge.
The Celtics continued to dominate and took a 106-77 lead into the fourth.
--Field Level Media