NEW YORK — Isaiah Thomas scored 23 points, and the Boston Celtics pulled away in the fourth quarter for a 111-92 victory over the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday night.
Thomas shot 8 of 21 in 33 minutes and heard applause from several Boston fans sitting in the stands when he checked out late in the game. It marked the 14th time in 15 games that Thomas scored at least 20 points.
Avery Bradley added 22 points and seven rebounds for the Celtics, who shot 45.9 percent. Al Horford contributed 17 points, eight assists and five rebounds as Boston (9-6) won its third in a row since he returned from a concussion.
Reserve Sean Kilpatrick scored 17 of his 23 points in the second half for the Nets (4-10), who never led and dropped their fifth straight. Trevor Booker had 18 points and 12 rebounds, and Bojan Bogdanovic added 14, but Brook Lopez missed five of six 3-point tries and was held to 13.
The Celtics took three 17-point leads, and Terry Rozier’s layup early in the second gave them a 37-20 lead. The Nets stormed back with a 21-6 run and were within 43-41 after Booker intercepted Amir Johnson’s errant pass and coasted in for a layup with 2:24 left. By halftime Boston held a 51-49 lead after Brooklyn’s Joe Harris hit a 3-pointer with 3.2 seconds remaining.
The Nets hung around and forged a 60-60 tie on a basket by Lopez, but on the next possession, Horford hit a 3-pointer, and Boston gradually regained its double-digit lead. After Brooklyn was within 63-62, the Celtics surged ahead with a 13-2 run, getting 3-pointers from Bradley, Horford and Thomas.
Boston took a 79-66 lead into the fourth and struggled to widen its lead in the early stages of the final quarter. The Nets were within 89-81 when Kilpatrick hit a 3-pointer with 8:16 left, but Horford returned about two minutes later, and the Celtics finally put it away.
Horford passed out of a double team in the low post, leading to a 3-pointer by Jae Crowder with 5:58 left. Forty seconds later, Bradley tipped in his own miss after easily getting the rebound, giving Boston a 97-84 lead.
Uncontested corner 3-pointers by Crowder and Thomas in a span of 29 seconds officially sealed it, extending the lead to 105-87 with about four minutes left.
NOTES: Boston F Jae Crowder was in the starting lineup with his usual minutes restriction, and he scored 15 points. He did not play the final 16 minutes of Monday’s win in Minnesota because of left ankle pain. … Brooklyn G Jeremy Lin (left hamstring strain) missed his ninth straight game. The Nets did have an update on when Lin could return. Coach Kenny Atkinson reiterated, “No specific time, just progressing as scheduled.” … Asked about Celtics fans getting excited each time the Nets lose because of three first-round draft picks acquired in June 2013 for Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, coach Brad Stevens said, “No, I don’t even pay attention.” … Brooklyn G/F Caris LeVert (left foot rehab) has begun practicing, but there is not a timetable for his return.