The Least You Should Know
[sny-box] Emotions were running high at the start of the contest with Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett’s return to TD Garden. But the play on the court from both sides certainly did not live up to the hype.
The Nets scored a season-low 11 points in the first quarter but turned it on offensively in the second quarter. Boston put up a fight late, but the Nets’ defensive effort throughout the game – capped off by a huge steal and layup by Garnett – led to a victory.
Brooklyn’s bench outscored Boston’s 47-27, led by 17 points by Andray Blatche.
The homecoming from Pierce and Garnett resulted in 5-of-16 combined shooting for 12 points.
For the Celtics, Brandon Bass scored 17 points on 6-of-6 shooting with eight rebounds. Rajon Rondo had six turnovers but also 13 points, eight rebounds and eight assists.
This one wasn’t pretty, but a win’s a win and the Nets have now won five straight.
Maybe the emotional return of Pierce and Garnett to Boston took all the energy out of the Nets early. But as poorly as they played in the first half, the Celtics were that much worse.
In fact, the Celtics had as many turnovers as made field goals (12) in the first half. That’s really the only way Brooklyn was able to survive scoreless first halves by Pierce and Joe Johnson.
How fitting though that it was Garnett that came up with the big play in his return.
Even though they missed plenty of inside shots, the Nets exploited the Celtics in the paint. There’s a distinct height advantage between these two teams, and the Nets made the most of it.
Brooklyn’s bench play has been unconscious, and in the first half, the bench scored 25 of the Nets’ 35 points. As YES Network broadcaster Donny Marshall mentioned, many NBA teams would love to have the Nets’ second unit of Deron Williams, Jason Terry, Mirza Teletovic, Andrei Kirilenko and Blatche as their starting five.
Kirilenko continues to be this team’s unsung hero. He scored 11 points, but his energy in the second and fourth quarters changed the Nets’ fortunes. The team is now 12-4 this season when he appears in a game.
As rough a game as this was for the Nets, the team moves to an NBA-best 10-1 in 2014. Coincidentally, it’s the second straight year in which the Nets have posted a 10-1 record through the first 11 games of January.
Brooklyn is right back in action Monday night at Barclays Center against the team that handed the Nets their only loss of 2014 back on Jan. 11: the Raptors. Tip is set for 7:30 PM, and a Nets’ win could bring Brooklyn to just a half-game out of first place.