League-Worst Nets Stun Reeling Celtics With 104-96 Win


Feb 27, 2010

League-Worst Nets Stun Reeling Celtics With 104-96 Win The Boston Celtics had trouble stopping the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday, the NBA's best team.

You can now add the NBA's worst team to Boston's troubles, as the Celtics dropped a shocking loss to the New Jersey Nets on Saturday, 104-96.

New Jersey won just their sixth overall game and third away from home and are now a scintillating 6-52.

Brook Lopez led the Nets' attack with 25 points while guards Devin Harris and Courtney Lee each chipped in 23 and 21 points, respectively. Yi Jianlan banged the boards along with Kris Humphries to grab 10 rebounds apiece. The Nets had an 18-point lead in the fourth quarter at one point.

The Celtics saw Rajon Rondo grab a season-high 17 assists and bank 13 points. Kevin Garnett led the scoring attack with 26 points and posted a well-rounded game overall with nine rebounds and two steals.

A major reason for the loss was Boston's heavy-handedness on fouls, with the Nets converting 34-of-41 free-throw shots. Boston had just 11 of these chances, making nine baskets. Top Celtics scorer Paul Pierce missed his third straight game with a sore thumb.

Nets 104, Boston 96
TD Garden, Boston, Mass.

February 27, 2010

Live Blog | Box Score | Recap

Headliner: The 10th overall pick of the 2008 NBA draft is quickly establishing himself as a force to be reckoned with. That player is Lopez, who led all Nets players with 25 points, racking up seven rebounds while remaining on the court for 42 minutes and 29 seconds.

The 7-foot center abused Kendrick Perkins all night long and no Celtic could contain him, always being forced to concede the inside position to Lopez.

Unsung Hero: Rondo's season-high 17 assists was the bright spot in an otherwise dreary day. He also checked in with 13 points, six rebounds and three steals. He's racked up double-digit assists in 10 of the last 13 games and is easily one of the best point guards in the game right now. He's going to be leaned on in the next few years as the Celtics transition out of their current Big Three and attempt to sustain their winning ways.

Scrub: Perkins got off to a hot start on the season but he's fallen off since. This game is evidence: a scant two points, two rebounds and one block in just 19 minutes. Not exactly what you hope to see out of your big man. Perk is averaging only 8.6 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks per game in February.

Turning Point: The Celtics allowed the Nets to tie the game three times in the first quarter and NESN writer Tony Lee wrote in the live blog that the game was "taking on a similar feel to the last time the Nets were here, when Boston just let them hang around with some extremely lackluster defense."

After Lopez sank two free throws for the tie, Marquis Daniels hit a lay-up, then the Nets took their first lead of the game on a Keyon Dooling three-pointer. New Jersey would not trail again.

Up Next: The Celtics are going to get two days to nurse their wounds. Pierce is targeted to return when the Celtics head to Detroit for March 2 — although it's far from certain Pierce can play. Starting at 7:30 p.m., Boston will be going up against the 21-37 Pistons.

Whatever goodwill the Celtics had on their grueling four-game West Coast swing last week following the All-Star Break has been erased on the homestand that saw them barely eke out the Knicks, then drop consecutive games to the Cavaliers and Nets.

The Pistons will do battle with the Golden State Warriors at 10:30 p.m. and are currently working on a two-game losing streak.

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