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Celtics 96, Nets 87

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff  February 5, 2010 05:12 PM

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Celtics use reserves to stop Nets

Thumbnail image for perklopez.JPG
Doc Rivers kept Kevin Garnett, Kendrick Perkins and spot starter Tony Allen off the floor for the first nine minutes of the fourth quarter.

Instead, he took Glen Davis, Eddie House and Rasheed Wallace off the bench and put them on the floor with Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen with the Celtics trying to come from behind and put away the unexpectedly pesky New Jersey Nets. 

Wallace and Davis wiped the glass clean. House, who had been struggling, knocked down 3s and came up with steals, and a bench unit that had been spotty rushed out on a 12-4 run. By the time Garnett and Perkins hit the floor with 2:40 left, the Celtics were up 4 and all they had to do was put on the finishing touches.
Ray Allen knocked down a catch-and-shoot 3-pointer in front of the Nets bench that made it 93-84 with 2:00 left and from there the Celtics slammed the door on the Nets 96-87, handing them their 45th in 49 games this season.

Ray Allen  led all scorers with 26 points  on 9 of 17 shooting, wiping out the 19-point six-rebound effort from Nets young bigman Brook Lopez. Rajon Rondo notched his 23d double-double this season, scoring 17 points and dishing out 11 assists.

The Celtics got 32 points off the bench, topped by Glen Davis’ 13 points. His 14-foot pullup put the Celtics up88-79 with 5:03 left.

The Nets, on track to possibly be the worst team in league history, had encouraged interim head coach Kiki Vandeweghe with their recent play. After losing 11 straight by an average of 17.8 points, they beat the Clippers Jan. 18 and in their four losses since were all by single-digit.

They refused to lay down for the Celtics. Devin Harris, absent at the start of the season with a groin injury, scored 17 points. The lead changed hands 12 times in the first half. The game was tied another 14 times. The Nets shot 63.3 percent in the firs thalf (19 of 20) and got to the free throw line 19 times. 

But Boston put together another strong fourth quarter, outscoring the Nets 24-14 in the final frame to put New Jersey away and seal their first three-game winning streak since December.


Final, Celtics 96-87
A rather unimpressive win over a 4-45 team and more credit should go to the Nets for playing harder than the Celtics. The Nets couldn't match their first-half execution, going 11 for 38 from the field in the second half.
Fourth quarter, 56.1 Celtics 95-87
After Jarvis Hayes swished a 3-pointer, Kevin Garnett responded with a 20-footer and the Celtics are close to sealing this one, but it hasn't been easy.
Fourth quarter, 2:00 Celtics 93-84
Sorry about the score confusion, the officials took Eddie House's 3-pointer off the board and called it a 24-second clock violation after further review. Courtney Lee then responded with a 3-pointer for an 88-84 score. The Celtics have responded with five straight points and are a few plays from sealing this one.
Fourth quarter, 3:40 Celtics 88-81
Eddie House has had an amazing quarter with 10 points and it appears the Celtics will hold on after playing a lousy first three quarters. House has scored 10 of the Celtics 16 points in the fourth quarter while KG and Perk continue to sit.
Fourth quarter, 6:31 Celtics 82-77
The Celtics have allowed just two New Jersey baskets in the first 5:29 and Eddie House has eight points in the quarter. Doc Rivers has rested Kevin Garnett and Kendrick Perkins and allowed his bench to try to win this game. Good move?
Fourth quarter, 8:58 Celtics 77-75
It has been a slow fourth quarter but Eddie House has livened up the crowd with a 3-pointer and the Celtics just forced a turnover. So they have a chance to create some separation but the Nets have been playing well all night.
End of third quarter, Nets 73-72
The Nets were 7 for 18 from the field in the quarter but were saved by Brook Lopex, who scored the last 8 points of the period. The Celtics' offense was stagnant after taking a 64-61 lead and they didn't score a field goal in the final 2:37.
Third quarter, 2:53 Nets 69-68
New Jersey isn't going anywhere and the Nets withstood a Celtics run and now lead. Devin Harris has 15 points.
Third quarter, 7:43 Celtics 58-57
Boston has begun the half with a 7-2 run and more emphasis on defense. The Nets are 1 for 5 to begin the period but this won't be an easy game.
Halftime, New Jersey 55-51
The Nets are playing marvelous in the first half, shooting 63 percent while nine players have scored, led by Devin Harris' 11 and three players with nine. Rajon Rondo has 12 points and Ray Allen 11. Kevin Garnett with a quiet eight points and four rebounds.
Second quarter, 8.7, New Jersey 55-49
The Nets have completely outplayed the Celtics in the first half and Boston looks tired and uninterested as if it expected to cruise from the opening tip.
Second quarter, 2:50, New Jersey 48-47 
New Jersey is burning the Celtics for 65 percent shooting and NINE different Nets have scored. The Celtics are playing terrible defense and are playing with fire against a hungry team.
Second quarter, 5:45, Tied at 41
The Celtics defense continues to be terrible as New Jersey is shooting 65 percent from the field and Chris Douglas-Roberts has scored nine straight points. This could be a much tougher game than the Celtics thought.
Second quarter, 8:44, Celtics 37-32
The Celtics are shooting 58 percent but there's a problem. The Nets are shooting 62 percent. New Jersey hardly looks like a 4-44 team. And there is a CDR sighting. Chris Douglas-Roberts is in the game.
End of first quarter, Celtics 29-25
The offense is clicking but the Celtics need to get some stops to put this one away early. Ray Allen has nine points.
First quarter, 2:20, Celtics 21-20
The Celtics aren't exactly blowing the Nets out so far. They are playing poor defense as Devin Harris and Courtney Lee each have six points.
First quarter, 5:22, Celtics 17-13
The Celtics are on a 5-0 run after the Nets briefly took a 13-12 lead. Ray Allen already has five points on 3 for 5 shooting while Kevin Garnett has 4.
First quarter, 8:41, Celtics 8-4
The Cs jumped out early behind buckets from Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo



Having been on losing teams, though not as drastic as the Nets' situation, Ray Allen talked a little before the game about what it was like and why he feels no sympathy.

I do believe at some point all of us in this locker room have been in that scenario, in that situation. I don’t feel sorry for them. I believe that it’s almost like a rite of passage for most guys coming into the NBA, being part of a team where you have to learn to become a better teammate to grow and understand and learn NBA life. You might be playing a lot of minutes, but you have to learn what it is to be successful in this game.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is what futility looks like. The New Jersey Nets started the season with an 18 game losing streak. They've currently dropped four straight and 15 of their last 16. For all intents and purposes, New Jersey essentially looks like a sparring partner for the Celtics, trying to snap out of a January funk by starting February with three straight wins.

All signs say that Paul Pierce will not play, though that foot sprain he suffered Monday in a win over Washington could recover in time for him to play Sunday against the Magic. There's an off chance that Marquis Daniels could come around by then, too, depending on how practice goes tomorrow.

As for the task the Celtics have at hand, Bob Ryan had the Nets covered this morning, making a point New Jersey probably doesn't want to hear.

If the Nets think this can’t get worse, they’d better do a little homework. What they will discover as this season progresses is that opponents will not, as they may hope, take them lightly. They will discover that opponents will play as if every Nets game is the seventh game of the Finals. The desire to win does not to begin to compare with the fear of losing to a team that loses to everyone else.

No one's a cupcake, but the Celtics have won 11 straight over the Nets. Still, Doc Rivers is cautious about getting his team whole again.

“I’m not playing him unless he feels he’s great,’’ Rivers said. “I don’t want to hear any of this ‘I can get through a game’ - that’s not good enough. So, if he feels good on Sunday, we’ll play him. If he doesn’t, we’ll wait until Wednesday [at New Orleans] and, if not, we’ll wait until after All-Star break. “We’ve got to do this right and I don’t know what is right. If he doesn’t play in the three games and he’s feeling a lot better, I would actually want him to play in the All-Star Game. It allows him to play before we get to the West Coast.’’

Marquis Daniels, Tony Allen, and Glen Davis are all on the floor getting up early shots. Doc talks in a short while. 
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