Celtics Live Blog: Paul Pierce, Brandon Bass Go on Scoring Sprees to Knock Down Nets 89-70

by NESN Staff

January 4, 2012

Celtics Live Blog: Paul Pierce, Brandon Bass Go on Scoring Sprees to Knock Down Nets 89-70

End game, Celtics win 89-70: One more Celtic got in the score book when E'Twaun Moore scored five quick points, including a 3 with 44 seconds left for the Celtics' final basket.

With Ray Allen out with flu-like symptoms, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo and Brandon Bass posted strong all-around games to help the Celtics run away from arguably the worst team in the NBA.

Pierce scored 24 points and had six rebounds and five assists, while Rivers was able to keep Pierce's minutes below 30 minutes. Garnett filled the boxscore with 14 points and 12 rebounds in just 25 minutes, and Rondo had 12 assists and three steals to complement their scoring. Bass came off the bench to give Boston 25 good minutes with 15 points and 13 rebounds.

The Celtics (4-3) climb above .500 for the first time this season. The Nets (1-6) remain in last place with their sixth consecutive loss.

Fourth quarter, 2:55, 79-58: It's time for the Celtics bench squad to pile on against the hapless Nets. Bradley, whose duties are usually confined to harassing the heck out of opposing guards, makes a nice double-crossover for a layup to put the C's up 21. Stiemsma draws a charge on Farmar to keep that lead intact.

Fourth quarter, 5:19, 77-57: Bass takes a much-deserved seat after a two-handed dunk gave the Celtics a brief 22-point lead.

Bass gave the C's 15 points and 13 rebounds in 25:45 off the bench.

Fourth quarter, 6:45, 75-51: Smart move by the Nets fouling on that break, otherwise they'd be on all the highlight reels.

Rondo deflected a pass, then saved it by jumping out of bounds and flinging the ball behind his back to Bradley. A Nets foul stopped the break, but Garnett drilled a jumper to give the C's a 24-point lead.

Fourth quarter, 8:27, 71-51: Bass has decided not to miss anymore, which is a good strategy. He dropped another jumper and is now 6-for-8 from the field.

A fastbreak layup by Rondo gives the Celtics a 20-point edge.

Fourth quarter, 9:14, Celtics 67-51: Garnett wastes little time swishing a long jumper. The Celtics don't want to see the 19-point lead they built earlier this quarter crumble, as large leads have for them in past blowouts.

Fourth quarter, 10:13, Celtics 65-51: Rondo and Garnett make a quick reappearance when the Celtics look disjointed on two straight offensive possessions. Wilcox hit a baseline jumper before the ugly series, but if the C's start relying on Wilcox' outside shooting for offense, they'll have problems.

End third quarter, Celtics 63-47: Brooks' return to the region where he played his college ball will probably be remembered as a good trip overall, but he's made a few rookie mistakes.

One error he's made a few times is a rookie tendency to flee a trap by dribbling straight into the corner — right where the trap wants him to go. It's only led to one turnover, but it's stagnated the Nets offense every time.

Another mistake was falling for a Pierce pump fake in the corner. That led to two free throws for Pierce, who now has 24 points and has taken over Brooks' mantle as the game's high scorer.

The Celtics' defense took over in the third and allowed the Nets to score one point in the final three minutes of the quarter. Brandon Bass has also been massive off the bench with 11 points and 10 rebounds in 19 minutes.

Third quarter, 1:34, Celtics 59-46: Avery Bradley probably just earned a Tommy point for his defense on Jordan Farmar. Tough defense out beyond the 3-point arc led to a deflection by Bradley, and Farmar lost the ball out of bounds.

And Pierce has kept up his hot shooting beyond the arc and at the foul line. The C's have their largest lead of the game.

Third quarter, 4:56, Celtics 52-44: No Ray Allen? No big deal, Paul Pierce will just take over the role of ol' long-range gunslinger for Boston.

Bass hit a couple of jumpers to push the Celtics' lead to five, then Pierce stepped behind a Bass screen to nail a straight-on 3-pointer, his second long ball of the night, and the C's have their largest lead of the second half.

Third quarter, 6:09, Celtics 47-44: The Celtics have gotten back into a rhythm on offense, but they also allowed the Nets to gain some confidence. Gaines and Brooks have been crucial in keeping the Nets close.

Gaines has six points in the quarter, and Brooks got to the line to add to his game-high point total. Brooks has 16 points.

Rondo hit a running layup to give the C's a 40-38 lead, and after an Okur layup Dooling knocked down a 3 to give the Celtics a lead they have not relinquished yet.

The Nets don't seem hesitant with three of their best players out of the lineup, and what was supposed to be a day of rest for the Celtics could turn into a dogfight.

Halftime, Nets lead 35-34: Few would have been surprised to know that at halftime of this game, one team would have 10 turnovers and the other one would have three turnovers.

What might have been surprising is the team that has the 10 turnovers.

The Nets, missing their lead guard, have protected the ball, while the C's have fumbled it away. That's just about the only thing keeping the Nets in the game, as they have not moved the ball well (six team assists) and have been outrebounded 26-19.

The Good: Paul Pierce had a strong first half, scoring 13 points on 5-of-9 shooting in 17:32, but the Celtics have no answer for MarShon Brooks. The Providence product has a game-high 15 points and zero turnovers in 19:37, despite not being a natural point guard. (He is more of a two-guard or combo guard.) Brooks has two steals and is 7-for-13 from the floor. … Kevin Garnett is playing another strong all-around game. He hit four of the five shots he took and has eight points and seven rebounds in 15:51 as Rivers manages the Big Ticket's minutes. KG got too cute on a couple of possessions, leading to two turnovers.

The Bad: Mehmet Okur, one of the best shooting big men in the league, is 1-for-5. But he also played horrible defense, so at least he has that not going for him, too. … Marquis Daniels always seems to make the right play only to see it not work out. He's taken four good shots and missed all of them, although he hit two free throws in 6:28. … The teams are shooting a combined 39 percent from the field.

The So-So: Jermaine O'Neal had a tough time getting it going, missing three of his four shots and committing three fouls in 16:29. He did have five rebounds and two blocked shots, and he's battling a sore left hamstring. … Shelden Williams helped pull the Nets ahead, but he also missed a couple of gimmes close to the rim and lost a few sure rebounds. He has eight points on 3-of-6 shooting, seven rebounds and two fouls in 17:21.

Second quarter, 1:03, game tied 33-33: In the history of the NBA, there have been a few great big man-guard combinations. Malone-Stockton. Baylor-West. Williams-Gaines.

OK, maybe not quite, but Shelden Williams and Sundiata Gaines hooked up for consecutive baskets to give the Nets the lead. First was a Williams dunk, assisted by Gaines, followed by a Williams baseline jumper, assisted by Gaines.

Pierce put in a fastbreak layup to tie it back up, but with 13 points Pierce is now pretty much the only Boston player doing anything on offense.

Second quarter, 3:32, Celtics 31-29: A barrage by Brooks creates a threat for the C's.

That's right, Brooks — the rookie out of Providence who was a member of the Celtics for about five brief minutes on draft day — scored six straight points to tie the game at 29-29. A layup by Garnett off a feed by Rondo put the Celtics back ahead.

After Pierce hit one of two free throws to give the Celtics their largest lead of the game at 29-22, Brooks stole the ball from O'Neal on a defensive rebound and scored a floater. He then drilled a step-back 3 and a driving layup to knot it up.

Second quarter, 5:54, Celtics 28-22: A long jumper by Garnett gives the Celtics a six-point lead, matching their largest lead of the game.

Until a driving layup by Dooling, the Celtics had done the bulk of their damage in the quarter on defense or with free throws. Stiemsma and Bradley made a pair of nice defensive plays, with Stiemsma blocking a Farmar layup and Bradley forcing DeShawn Stevenson to take a bad shot. Bradley and Daniels each hit a pair of free throws.

Garnett has six points but his best work has been on the glass, where he already has seven rebounds.

Second quarter, 9:40, Celtics 20-17: Rivers inserts Garnett to give the Celtics something resembling an offensive threat. He responds with a turnaround one-handed jumper off the glass.

End first quarter, Celtics 18-17: The Celtics empty the bench with Stiemsma, Bass, Bradley, Daniels and Dooling (who started this game) and the Nets pull within one. A Shawne Williams floater, Jordan Farmar free throw and Anthony Morrow jump shot accounted for the Nets' 5-0 run.

First quarter, 1:59, Celtics 18-12: Race to the rim for the Celtics. The only question is whether they have enough stamina to keep running toward the iron.

Bass finished a fastbreak with a hard stuff off a Rondo bounce pass, then O'Neal rejected Williams at the rim to key a fastbreak. Rondo missed the layup, but Pierce cleaned up the garbage.

Pierce had 10 points, three rebounds and two assists in the first 10 minutes.

First quarter, 3:49, Celtics 14-12: Pierce stayed hot, knocking down a 3-pointer off a swing from Rondo, but rookie Brooks looks intent on matchin Pierce shot for shot.

Brooks dribbled along the baseline and patiently waited for the opportunity to put in a reverse layup for his fifth and sixth points.

First quarter, 7:28, Celtics 9-4: Pierce needs to be aggressive on offense, and he was active in the opening minutes, culminating in a two-handed dunk ahead of the Nets defense.

In addition to the technical free throw, Pierce hit a jump shot, assisted O'Neal on a pick-and-roll and gobbled a defensive rebound, which he quickly outleted downcourt to Dooling.

The C's are going to Garnett in the post much more often than they have in other games. Garnett holds a two-inch heigh advantage and an immeasurable talent advantage over the sixth-year journeyman forward out of Duke.

Williams also has terrible aim on his dunks.

First quarter, 11:44, Celtics 1-0: It took 16 seconds for the Nets to commit two violations. A defensive foul and defensive three seconds leads to a technical free throw by Pierce.

7:34 p.m.: It's time to see how "back" Paul Pierce is. The Celtics captain showed few signs of rust against the Pistons after missing the first three games with a bone bruise in his right heel, then seemed a little off while shooting 2-for-8 against the Wizards on Sunday.

Pierce dispelled concerns about his health by scoring 21 points Monday, but he shared the scoring load in that game with Allen, who had 27 points. With Allen missing Wednesday's game with flu-like symptoms, Pierce's heel will be put to the test on the offensive end.

7:02 p.m.: As you may have heard, Ray Allen is expected to miss Wednesday's game. He played through a cold Monday against the Wizards, but apparently won't be able to fight through it against the Nets.

Allen's injury should not change the expected outcome against the Nets. Mired in last place, New Jersey got even worse news when it was announced point guard Deron Williams will miss the game with bruised ribs. Kris Humphries and Brook Lopez are also out with injuries.

MarShon Brooks, the Providence alum who was drafted by the Celtics and shipped to New Jersey in a draft-day trade, will make his first NBA start.

Keyon Dooling will start for the Celtics in Allen's place, Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. Jermaine O'Neal is back in the starting lineup after missing Monday's game with a sore left hamstring.

10:30 a.m.: In the last six days, the song of the Celtics' season has changed from the Rolling Stones' "(Can't Get No) Satisfaction" to Tupac's "Picture Me Rolling."

After opening the season with three losses, Boston (3-3) has won three straight and will be favored to win its fourth straight when the last-place Nets (1-5) come to town Wednesday.

Even at full strength, the Nets are one of the worst teams in the NBA. With starting center Brook Lopez out with a broken foot, big man Kris Humphries day-to-day with a sprained left shoulder and star point guard Deron Williams hobbled by a twisted ankle suffered Saturday in a loss to the Hawks, New Jersey will face even longer odds against the Celtics.

Jermaine O'Neal, who missed Monday's game with a sore hamstring, is probable for Wednesday, and Chris Wilcox is expected to play with a bruised shoulder.

Tip-off is at 7:30 p.m. Join us for live updates throughout the game.

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