On Wednesday night, the Nets defeated the Boston Celtics by a final score of 101-93.
The Skinny: The Celtics raced out to the early lead, relying on hot three-point shooting to open an eight-point lead. But Joe Johnson found his outside stroke, and the Nets responded with a 13-2 run, capped off by back-to-back three-pointers by C.J. Watson. Brooklyn led by one after one.
Deron Williams took control offensively to open the second quarter, helping to increase the Nets’ lead to six. Boston’s second unit immediately fought back to regain the lead, but from there the Nets went on a 15-4 run to lead by 10 at the break. D-Will scored 11 points in the quarter, and things began to get chippy as Kevin Garnett picked up a technical foul for a skirmish with Reggie Evans.
Both teams came out with a fast offensive pace to start the third quarter, but the Nets remained hot as the Celtics went to cold to open a 16-point lead. Boston eventually cut the deficit to single digits, but Brooklyn consistently had an answer at the opposite end. Brook Lopez scored 10 points in the quarter, and the Nets maintained their 10-point lead after three.
The Celtics had plenty of energy to open the fourth quarter, but Brooklyn’s second unit was able to keep the lead at double-digits. Williams, Johnson and Lopez kept knocking down big shots as part of an 8-0 run, as the lead increased to 17. The rest of the game was garbage time, as the Nets earned their 22nd road win of the season.
High Scorers: D-Will led all scorers with 29 points on 9-of-18 shooting and dished out 12 assists for the double-double. For the Celtics, Paul Pierce led the way with 23 points on 7-of-11 from the field.
Key Stats: The Nets shot 7-of-19 (37 percent) in the first quarter but improved to shoot 27-of-55 (49 percent) over the final three quarters. Brooklyn also shot 25-of-28 from the free-throw line.
Who Was Hot: Playing in his 900th career game, Johnson shot 8-of-15 from the floor for 20 points and made four three-pointers. Lopez finished 8-of-14 for 21 points. In limited minutes due to an ankle injury, Garnett managed 11 points on 5-of-11 shooting and pulled down eight rebounds.
Who Was Not: Jeff Green struggled shooting, finishing 4-of-17 from the outside for 11 points. Evans, who had been dominant offensively, grabbed 14 boards but only scored one point in this one without attempting a field goal.
Fun Fact: Terrence Williams – currently a reserve player for the Celtics – is the last Net to record a triple-double. He accomplished the feat on April 9, 2010 against the Chicago Bulls with 27 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists.
Jim MancariThis was exactly the type of game the Nets needed as a tune-up for the playoffs. Brooklyn pretty much maintained a comfortable lead from the second quarter on, but it felt like a much more intense game, especially since these teams were not afraid to play chippy.
The Nets’ big three of Williams, Johnson and Lopez really showed up in this one, combining for 70 points. It was a great sign to see Johnson have a good game against a tough opponent as the postseason nears.
A key factor for the Nets in this one was that Celtics’ guard Avery Bradley, a shut-down defender, was in foul trouble all game. He played only 12:11, which allowed Williams to control the offensive pace for much of the game.
Williams set a new Nets’ franchise high mark with his 159th made three-pointer of the season, breaking the previous record of 158 set by Kerry Kittles in 1996-1997.
Gerald Wallace had to be carried off in the second quarter after suffering a left heel contusion.
The Nets won the rebounding battle in this one, 39-38. In the four matchups between these teams this season, whichever team won the rebounding battle won the game. The Nets finished 3-1 in those games, marking the first time since 200-2006 that the team won the season series against the Celtics.
The blowout win Tuesday night against the 76ers was a blessing for the Nets, since the starters all had a chance to rest in the meaningless fourth quarter so that they were incredibly fresh late in this one against Boston.
Brooklyn (46-32) stays on the road to face the Indiana Pacers Friday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. The 7 p.m. game will be televised on the YES Network.
Jim Mancari is a Contributor to SNYNets.com. Follow him on Twitter @JMMancari.