In a very emotional game, the Brooklyn Nets were able to hang on and defeat the Boston Celtics on the road, 85-79 in Boston Sunday night. This marked the first game back in Boston for both Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, but neither of them, especially Pierce, played very well. The Nets were again led by Andray Blatche off the bench with 17 points. Brandon Bass scored 17 for Boston.
The Nets did not play well at all tonight, probably because of all of the videos and ceremonies honoring Pierce and Garnett, but Boston is a bad enough team that they were able to win anyway. The first half was truly terrible basketball and was painful to watch, but the Nets somehow led by 1 at halftime. The Nets used a small-ish run in the third quarter to take control of the game, and despite a late 3 by Rajon Rondo, were able to win the game.
This wasn’t pretty, but a win is a win, and the Nets are now 20-22 and just a game and a half behind Toronto for the division lead. They have won 10 of their past 11 games in January and are still the hottest team in the league, even though this game didn’t show it.
Player grades and notes:
Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett: A
Neither player did very much, although Garnett did have the steal and fast break dunk to seal the game. They get an A just for all they did for the Celtics’ organization. The Celtics’ fans and Boston Garden management also get an A for really putting on a great show and honoring the two legends. In terms of actual play, Pierce was out of it all night and didn’t even score until the third quarter. Both finished with just 6 points.
Joe Johnson: F
In a game that should have had his name written all over it, Joe Johnson really struggled tonight, scoring just 6 points. Like Pierce, he didn’t score until the third quarter either and he missed a big free throw in the final 60 seconds of the game. With all the attention on Pierce and Garnett, Joe should have shined tonight, but he did everything but that. This could also hurt his all-star chances, seeing that this game was nationally televised.
Alan Anderson: B+
Anderson made three big 3′s in the third quarter tonight after a quiet first half, and was actually tied for the Nets’ second leading scorer in this game with 11. The trio of 3′s was really big because neither team was making any shots. He also played excellent defense on Jeff Green for most of the night, holding him to just 8 points on 2-13 shooting.
Shaun Livingston: B
Livingston had a couple of nice moments tonight and was the first Net to score after the team went down 8-0 at the start of the game. He finished with 9 points and was actually the team’s leading rebounder with 8.
Deron Williams: B-
Deron had an interesting statistical game with 7 points, assists, and rebounds. Many of the rebounds bounced out to him to lead to possible fast break opportunities. However, he really struggled with his shot, hitting just 2 field goals in the game. One of them was big late in the fourth quarter, though.
Andray Blatche: B+
Blatche was really the only offense the Nets had in the first half, where he scored 11 points despite missing multiple easy layups. Defensively, he was pretty good tonight and he didn’t allow too many offensive rebounds.
Mirza Teletovic: C-
After a career night on Friday, Mirza was definitely being watched closely by the Boston defense tonight, which limited him. He was only 1-6 from 3, but even worse, he allowed offensive rebounds to whoever was guarding him and his defense was not good at all. His 3′s are great when they’re falling, but he is a defensive liability.
The Nets have a very quick turnaround and will be back in Brooklyn for a huge game tomorrow night when the division leading Raptors come to town. FRWD will have full coverage of the game.