This one started off as we all thought it would-C’s looked tired & sloppy and were out-hustled by the Nets. After 1Q, Brooklyn was up 31-26 and Boston had given-up 50% FG and already committed 6 turnovers.
Things then started to turn around a bit in the 2nd. Behind some fantastic play from Bass and Barbosa, who had 10 pts in the quarter, Boston pulled to within 3, 49-46 with a little over 2 minutes remaining in the half. But it was 2nd chances and rebounding that snuffed the Celtics tonight in the 1st two Q’s. Going into halftime, the Nets already had 15 offensive boards, and Joe Johnson’s three-pointer put Brooklyn up 59-50 at halftime.
The short rest halftime rest sure didn’t seem to help the Celts at first. Brooklyn opened up the 3rd Q with a heavy dose of DWill and Brook Lopez. Their combined 10 points in barely over 2 minutes had the Nets up 12, 69-57 with 7:56 to go in the 3rd. Enter Paul Pierce. The Truth buried a triple off the glass, then exploded down the lane for 2, forcing Brooklyn to call a timeout as Boston inched closer at 69-62 with 6:43 left in the 3rd. But Paul was just getting started. He ignited the C’s as they went on a 16-2 run, and his 11 points in the quarter propelled Boston to a 79-74 lead after 3Q’s. As John noted on Twitter, the Nets had ZERO offensive boards in the 3rd, and the Celtics just dug deep to fight their way into the driver’s seat.
In the 4th, tired legs began to show, but the C’s, particularly KG and Truth, would…not…quit. But major, and I mean major, scoring droughts doomed Boston tonight in the final Q. Just when it looked like they had the rebounding “issues” under control, they could not buy a basket at times. KG hit a jumper at the 10:49 mark, making it 83-80 C’s, and the next Celtics hoop didn’t come until another KG bucket at 8:40. Then came an absolutely horrid stretch of about 4 minutes were Boston couldn’t find the net again. Rondo’s absence really hurt Boston in the 4th, as the C’s looked lost on offense at times and simply could not score. Nets go on to win tonight 102-97. DWill and Brook Lopez both notched 24 pts to co-lead all scorers.
You really have to hand it to Paul Pierce tonight. The last few seasons he has stumbled out of the gate, and some fans have called for his head, said he’s “all-done” and, well.. we all know the rest. Tonight he almost single-handedly won this game for the C’s. The Truth has quite alot of fight left in him. Just wish he would’ve hit those free-throws though..ouch.
Paul led the green with 22, but alot of talk, understandably, will be about those crucial FT’s he missed down the stretch. KG was solid as usual, shaking off a tough start to finish with 14 and also hit some huge shots late in the game. Courtney Lee had his best game in green, notching 13 points to go with 9 boards in 33 minutes. Leandro Barbosa put in 17 points starting in place of the injured Rajon Rondo.
Celtics now head back to Boston and get ready for a rare Saturday matinée at TD Garden. Tip-off against the Toronto Raptors is at 12:30pm this Saturday.