After being down by as many as 13, Boston's rally came up short as they couldn't close the door on the Nets Thursday night in Brooklyn. Deron Williams and Joe Johnson hit big shots down the stretch as the home crowd celebrated a 102-97 win at the Barclays Center.
Leandro Barbosa started in place of the all-star point guard (Rondo), who suffered his injury in the third quarter of Wednesday night's game against Utah. The Brazilian Blur held his own the best way he knew how, as he attacked the basket and finished with 16 points and two assists. Kevin Garnett added 14 points and seven boards, while Courtney Lee chipped in with 13 and nine off the bench.
The C's trailed 59-51 at the half as the Nets quickly jumped to an 11 point lead in the first quarter. Brooklyn lead the entire first half and they grabbed 15 offensive boards to score 19 second chance points heading into the intermission.
"I was disappointed with our efforts in the first half. I thought they just kicked our butts," said Rivers. "I thought they were more physical, went over our backs, and pushed us around."In the third quarter, Boston used a 20-2 run to make it back as they led 79-74 going into the fourth. Jerry Stackhouse's only three pointer of the game evened it at 85 with 6:21 remaining. Johnson, who finished with 19 points, made consecutive jumpers and Brook Lopez (24 points) hit a put back to extend their lead to six, as the Celtics were left playing catch up once again.
"I think I was thinking about the layup too much, a little disappointed. It was unlike me to miss two free throws," said Pierce. "So I take a lot of the blame for down the stretch, I'm the guy they call upon to make the plays and I didn't make the plays tonight. It's a long season, but that's the reason we lost tonight. You can point to a number of little things we talk about all season long."Even though Boston held Brooklyn's shooting to just 42 percent, second chance points hurt the C's as they lost the battle on the offensive glass 18-12. Chris Wilcox yet again provided a spark in his 12 minutes of play, putting up 6 points, three rebounds and two blocks while Brandon Bass couldn't find his shooting range and went four for 14 for just eight points. The Celts play again tomorrow afternoon versus the Raptors, tipping off at 12:30 at The Garden.
This marks only the third win for the Nets over the Celtics in 21 tries, and it was the first time the Nets were televised on TNT in over four years. Marv Albert, who is from Brooklyn and worked games for the Dodgers when he was young before calling games for the Knicks and the Nets, was the lead announcer last night.