The Nets, who came in ranked 12th in the NBA in 3-point percentage (36.4), missed their first 17 3s -- all in the first half -- and finished 4-for-30 from downtown.
“Shooting that percentage from 3 [13.3] is just unacceptable,” Andrei Kirilenko told reporters in Boston.
The Nets (30-30) came into Friday night’s game having won four in a row -- and were facing a 19-41 Celtics team that had lost seven of its past eight -- but they failed to take advantage of the situation.
Brooklyn had led wire-to-wire in four of its past five games. It trailed wire-to-wire in this one.
“We had plenty of good looks, they just didn’t go down for us tonight,” Nets coach Jason Kidd said.
The setback came at a most inopportune time. The Toronto Raptors (34-26) won Friday night, extending their Atlantic Division lead over the Nets to four games with 22 remaining in the regular season.
“You always have room for improvement,” Kidd said. “And this is just another sign that we have to keep working, keep grinding and understand that we can’t take anybody lightly.”
“I’m sure nobody took them lightly,” Kirilenko said. “I don’t think we’re in a position to take anybody lightly.”
The Nets shot 36.3 percent overall and got killed on the glass, losing the rebounding battle 51-28.
The Nets trailed by as many as 18 in the third quarter, but they cut a 64-46 deficit to just two with 2:01 left in the frame. But the Celtics closed the third on a 6-2 run to make it 78-70 heading into the fourth, and the Nets went ice cold in the final stanza, needing nearly six minutes to register their first field goal.
It was an ugly performance from a Brooklyn team that had gone 15-1 in its past 16 games against sub-.500 opponents.
“That’s basketball,” Kidd said. “Sometimes it just doesn’t go down for you, and you have these type of nights, but you can look back and learn from them, and that’s what we’ll do.”