Tonight, the Brooklyn Nets defeated the Boston Celtics 95-83 in front of a sold out Boston crowd. The most exciting moment of the game was at the end of the second quarter where the two teams got into a fight following a hard, but not flagrant, foul of Kevin Garnett by Kris Humphries. After the foul, Rajon Rondo ran at Kris Humphries and the brawl began. Rondo, Humphries, and Gerald Wallace were ejected and Kevin Garnett picked up a technical foul. To read more about that play and see a video of the fight, click here.
Once the game resumed, the Nets continued playing well and Brooklyn (10-4) was always ahead by 9 or more points in the second half. Joe Johnson led the way for Brooklyn with 18 points and 6 assists. The bench for Brooklyn was huge tonight, scoring 52 points. Andray Blatche and Jerry Stackhouse each scored 17. Paul Pierce had 14 points, 9 rebounds, and 7 assists for Boston (8-7). Kevin Garnett had 16 points and 10 rebounds. Boston’s bench only scored 18 points.
The Nets were in control of this game from the start, taking an 8-point lead heading into the second quarter. In that quarter, the Nets’ defense really stepped up and it shut down the Celtics for the first 8 or 9 minutes of the quarter. Then, the Celtics began coming back, and that’s when Rondo lost control of his emotions.
I haven’t seen a fight like that in the NBA in a few years and I was surprised to see the Nets involved. I’m glad that this fight happened though. It really displayed the Nets’ toughness. Against a weaker team, Boston would have steamrolled through the second half, but Brooklyn refused to let that happen and never lost composure. Even though Humphries an Wallace got ejected, I don’t believe that they will be suspended. However, I think Rajon Rondo will get a suspension coming his way. He started the fight and he was the one who was out of control.
In the second half, the Nets kept a steady lead and never gave Boston an opportunity to come back. They dominated Boston on the boards and forced 17 turnovers from the Celtics. They also held them under 85 points. The Nets have now done that to their opponents 5 times this year. In fact, they haven’t given up over 90 points to their opponents in their last 4 games. That is pretty incredible for a team who many thought would be one of the worst defensive teams heading into the season.
The Manhattan Knicks also won tonight, and the two teams are still tied atop the Atlantic Division, although the Nets own the tiebreaker. Both are a 1/2 game behind Miami in the eastern conference.
For a box score of this game, click here.
Player grades and notes:
Brook Lopez: C
This was a tough game for Brook going against a future hall-of-famer in Kevin Garnett. Brook was in foul trouble from the very start, picking up two quick fouls at the start of the first quarter. Whenever he seemed to check back into the game, another quick foul came. The biggest issue was that most of the fouls weren’t good fouls; they were dumb fouls when the opponent wasn’t in a shooting motion. When Lopez did play, he rebounded very well, picking up 10 boards in 17 minutes. He only scored 9 points, but this isn’t surprising with how few minutes he played.
Deron Williams: B-
Deron did not do much in this game, but he played well enough to lead the team to a win in Boston. He only scored 8 points on 3/12 shooting. He added 7 assists and 4 rebounds. This was the Nets’ first high quality road win, and Deron was definitely a part of it.
Joe Johnson: A-
After not showing up at all against the Knicks, Joe played well tonight. He made some big shots in the fourth quarter to put the Celtics away. There was one play where he crossed over Paul Pierce and made a fade away jumper. He also had 6 assists and 4 rebounds. This was one of JJ’s more complete games as a Net.
Andray Blatche: A
The Nets have one of the best benches in the NBA, and Andray Blatche is a big part of that. He scored 17 points to go along with 13 rebounds (8 offensive!) in 28 minutes. He needed to play so much because of the ejections and foul trouble to the Nets starting front court. He shot 50% from the field and had tons of easy offensive rebound layups. He definitely took advantage of the Celtics’ bad rebounding.
Reggie Evans: B+
I expected Reggie to have more than 10 rebounds, but still you have to be happy when a player gets double-digit rebounds. Reggie played a season high 34 minutes today because of the front court’s many problems. He led the Nets with a +13 +/- and he even scored 5 points. He made one fade away jumper with the shot clock expiring that was extra spectacular. This game made it clear that Reggie is not qualified to play more than 30 minutes. He is best in short spurts where he can go all-out and get as many rebounds as possible. He is not conditioned to play a full game. He still played well tonight.
C.J. Watson: B+
C.J. had a very interesting game. In only 18 minutes, he somehow went to the foul line 10 times, making seven of them. He ended up scoring 13 points while only having one turnover.
Jerry Stackhouse: A++++++++
Stack temporarily moved his House to Boston. The House is located on avenue Corner, street 3. That’s right, Stack’s House is officially the Corner 3. In the game he shot 5-6 from the field and 5-6 from 3, all coming from the corner. The Nets should officially put stickers with Stackhouse’s face on them on all the corners of the court at Barclays Center. Uncle Jerry owns the Corner 3. He had 17 points and 3 steals in 22 minutes off the bench. He is now 15/28 from 3-point range this season, well over 50%. GET OUT OF STACK’S HOUSE!
This was a great road win for the Nets, and they will stay on the road for their next two games too. They will head down to the Sunshine State for more games with the Magic and Heat. The last time they made that trip, they lost to Miami by 30 and then beat Orlando by 39. We will see what happens this time. The first game will be at Orlando on Friday night. We will have full coverage on FRWD.