Celtics top Nets for 3rd straight, move above .500

The Associated Press
Posted March 02, 2012, at 11:08 p.m.

BOSTON — Paul Pierce had 27 points and eight assists, and the Boston Celtics got back above .500 with their third straight win, beating the New Jersey Nets 107-94 on Friday night.

Kevin Garnett added 20 points and 10 rebounds for his second straight double-double and third in four games. Rajon Rondo joined him with a double-double, finishing with 14 points and 13 assists for Boston (18-17).

The Celtics were playing without Ray Allen, who was sick Friday night, but still controlled nearly the entire game and had five players score in double figures. Boston also had assists on 35 of its 45 field goals and topped 100 points for the third time in four games.

Brook Lopez had 28 points for the Nets and Deron Williams finished with 12 points and eight assists. MarShon Brooks, Anthony Morrow and Gerald Green scored 11 apiece for New Jersey.

New Jersey is still trying to recover from an eight-game losing streak last month. The Nets had gone 3-2 since the skid, including a 93-92 road win over the defending NBA champion Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday, but slipped back to their old form on Friday night.

The Celtics shot 50 percent in the first half, taking a 58-40 lead into the break. Boston controlled the lane, outscoring New Jersey 32-18 inside and running for 14 fast-break points while holding the Nets to none.

Mickael Pietrus scored 11 and reserve Chris Wilcox had 14 points and seven rebounds while playing 27 minutes, 41 seconds — the longest night for any Boston player. Most of his teammates were enjoying a rest at the end after shutting down a brief rally by the Nets.

The Nets continued to unravel in the third quarter, as Garnett scored eight early in the period, then Pierce converted a three-point play to put the Celtics up 73-49 with 6:27 left in the period. New Jersey was playing a man down because Lopez was still at the other end complaining his shot that was blocked by Brandon Bass should have been called goaltending.

There was no whistle and Rondo found Pierce under the basket for an easy layup as DeShawn Stevenson committed the foul.

The Celtics’ lead grew to 26 before the Nets rallied to make it a little interesting near the end of the third with a 15-4 run. Green scored on three straight dunks, including a towering alley-oop from Brooks, during the surge, but the Nets still couldn’t get closer than 14.

Garnett opened the fourth with a long jumper for the Celtics, who didn’t allow the Nets to threaten again.

Notes: The Celtics had lost five straight entering the All-Star break. … Pierce missed the final minutes of the second quarter, heading to the locker room to be treated for cramps. He was back on the floor for the start of the third quarter. … The Nets committed 20 turnovers while losing their fourth straight in Boston.

http://bangordailynews.com/2012/03/02/sports/celtics-top-nets-for-3rd-straight-move-above-500/ printed on September 18, 2014