The Celtics could not miss against the black-and-white-clad Nets, shooting 56 percent from the field and 58 percent from behind the 3-point arc. They forced 19 turnovers and held Brooklyn to 27 percent shooting, managing to win by 30 points despite taking 21 fewer free throws.
The Celtics are off to Albany on Saturday, when they will take on the Knicks in their penultimate preseason contest. They return to Boston to close out the exhibition campaign against the Sixers on Sunday.
Fourth quarter, 5:56, Celtics 99-78: There might be time left on the clock, but Terry declared the Celtics were pretty much done for the night.
Joseph brought the ball up court and did what any smart rookie does. He tossed it ahead to one of the league's most dangerous 3-point shooters, and Terry spun in a long ball to give the Celtics a 21-point edge. Terry finished it up with his trademark "jet" motion toward the Boston bench.
Terry's three put him in double figures with 12 points. That made him one of six Celtics in double figures, along with all five starters.
Fourth quarter, 8:48, Celtics 92-74: Kris Joseph might be assured a roster spot, although nothing is certain. He can solidify that position with a strong stretch in the fourth quarter, when he will share the floor with many of the Celtics rotation guys, for once.
End of third quarter, 84-70: The Nets stopped turning the ball over every time, sort of. They headed into the final 12 minutes with only 17 turnovers, which is bad but a minor victory considering their inauspicious start. Still, the Celtics did not stop scorching the nets — and the Nets, as it were.
Garnett was 6-for-8 from the field, many of them from out beyond where the college arc would have been. It is scary to think of the Jimmer-esque things KG might have done in the NCAA, just for fun.
Pierce was rolling as well, up to 18 points, while a few Nets finally started to put together deceiving stat lines. Lopez had 14 points and seven rebounds desite not guarding much of anything on the defensive end, and Williams had 10 points and six assists, along with six turnovers.
The only Celtic who did not get a chance to take part was Bass, who did not return after halftime. Reports say Bass bruised his knee and will sit out as a precaution.
Third quarter, 4:01, Celtics 73-61: An exhibition game is still a game, and once the juices start flowing, it is tough to tell an athlete that a game does not matter.
Johnson laid a foul on Pierce that certainly mattered. Back on the court and gutting through his turned ankle, Pierce got free on the break but got bumped from behind by Johnson, who then rode the Celtics captain out of bounds and over a photographer. Pierce took umbrage, and the refs issued a flagrant foul, but that was not the only physical play. Rondo was tripped up by Wallace and Jason Collins delivered a hard foul to Lopez. It may be a preseason game, but it is also a division matchup.
Third quarter, 8:49, Celtics 65-51: Jared Sullinger got an unpleasant introduction into how he can expect to be treated by the referees this season. The rookie picked up two fouls on questionable calls — and one perfectly deserved call — in a span of mere minutes, drawing looks of disbelief from Sullinger, his teammates and Rivers.
Sullinger's defense was one of his weaknesses coming out of Ohio State, and that reputation seems to have followed him to the pros. The rookie will need to prove to the officials that he can defend so he can get some leeway. In less than 18 minutes on the court, Sullinger already had five personal fouls.
Halftime, Celtics 59-44: At this rate, Lee could discover that coming to Boston was career-altering.
Lee led everyone in this game in run-outs, and Rondo found him every time. On one two-on-none situation, Rondo could have dribbled in for the layup himself, but instead he tipped the ball to Lee a half-step ahead of him. Lee had nine points in the first half and hardly had to take anything but a dunk or layup.
Every Celtic was sharing the ball and getting out on the break like that. Garnett and Brandon Bass each had four assists, which might have been game-highs if Rondo had not been dealing. Rondo delivered six assists with only two turnovers and scored 12 assists on 10 shots. Pierce shot 4-for-7 from the field for 11 points before rolling his left ankle.
Bass and Sullinger spent some time playing together again, and Collins got some more burn, too. It was an impressive first half for all involved, except for Brooklyn, of course. Johnson, a prized offseason acquistion, missed eight of his nine shots.
Second quarter, 5:07, Celtics 46-30: Ruh-roh.
This Celtics squad is supposed to be all about depth, but of course they would rather not test it. Pierce limped off the floor with just under six minutes left in the first half favoring his left ankle, and limped to the locker room with trainer Ed Lacerte.
There was no immediate word on Pierce's status, but for a guy who has had a variety of foot/lower body problems in recent years, that was an unsettling sign for Boston.
Second quarter, 6:42, Celtics 41-27: This might be the first game where the Celtics' depth was self-evident. After the starters dominated, Rivers sent in another wave that did not let up. Green was all over the place, following up Jason Terry's missed layup (in transition, of course) with a quick tap-in as the trailer. Green takes nothing for granted. He was always that sort of player, but being away from the court for a year may have heightened that instinct in the Georgetown product.
Second quarter, 8:21, Celtics 35-27: The Celtics look like they are going to like playing in Brooklyn.
The parade to the hoop continued in the second quarter, with Jeff Green and Rondo joining the dunk show. Rondo got his slam off a give-and-go handoff from Garnett, and Green continued his tendency to just dunk everything in sight. Green got the ball on the right baseline, gave a slight pump-fake and then dribbled baseline, as though he expected the Nets to trap. Instead of having to pass back out to Bass, though, Green noticed that nobody came over to help and — why the heck not? — went up and flushed it.
The turnover count for Brooklyn is up to eight.
End of first quarter, : The first quarter could not have gone any smoother for the Celtics. Paul Pierce was rolling again, but this one had no real standout in the early going. Everyone in a white jersey was playing equally well — it was merely a matter of who got the open shot.
The new Nets looked a lot like the old Nets. The kicked the ball away seven times, recorded only one assist and missed all except three of their 16 shots.
The Celtics capitalized on all of it. They spent almost the entire 12 minutes on the break, which helped them make half of their 22 shots. Courtney Lee had active hands defensively with three steals and capped off the quarter by making one of two free throws to finish the frame with five points.
First quarter, 3:54, Celtics 18-7: The Net's lineup is star-studded, but they did not seem very interested in getting back on defense. Helped by Brooklyn's 2-for-12 shooting start and six turnovers, Rondo and the Celtics burst up the floor every time they touched the ball and almost always had a man advantage. With killer ball movement, the Celtics hit eight of their first 15 shots. The Nets' offense looked as weathered as the Barclays Center's ruster steel exterior.
First quarter, 10:37, Celtics 9-0: So the Celtics have figured out the Nets. Just let Brooklyn start all its stars and the C's have the Nets' number.
A collection of bench players and end-of-the-bench guys scored a one-point win over the Celtics on Tuesday, but two days later the starters could not pick up where the "scrubs" left off. The Nets turned the ball over three time sin the first 1:23 and watched the Celtics hit their first four shots.
7:35 p.m.: In a drastic change in strategy, the Nets have decided to actually play some of their good players in this one.
Two nights after sitting basically every player of consequence, the Nets have suited up Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Kris Humphries, Gerald Wallace and Brook Lopez for Thursday's home preseason game. Those five will start in only the second Nets game ever played in Brooklyn.
The starting lineups appear below.
9 a.m. ET: Paul Pierce could not have looked much sharper than he did Tuesday, when the Celtics forward scored 29 points in a one-point loss to the Nets. Those same Nets host
Pierce and the Celtics on Thursday at the newly minted Barclays Center.
This is the sixth of eight preseason games for the Celtics, who are still a long way from knowing exactly what starting lineup and rotation they will employ once the regular
season begins. Whether the Nets, who rested their top six players on Tuesday, will give a few more minutes to Deron Williams, Joe Johnson and others in this game remains to be seen.
Join us for updates and analysis during the game, which tips off at 8 p.m.
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