Ford Keys to the Game: Nets 92, Celtics 107

Ford Keys to the Game

Nets 92, Celtics 107

Game Highlights

Photo of the Game

Shaquille O'Neal

Shaquille O'Neal adds to his list of posterizing dunks as he slams one home over Kris Humphries of the Nets.
Brian Babineau/NBAE/Getty

Key Moment

Ray Allen was nearly nonexistent at the offensive end in the first half of tonight’s game. He did not score a single point and attempted only two shots from the field, both 3-pointers. Not coincidentally, the Boston Celtics struggled to score consistently against the Nets and went into halftime trailing 55-48.

We’re not sure what Doc Rivers, who watched the game from the locker room as he continued to rest his recovering throat, said to Allen and his teammates at halftime, but it must have been something pretty inspiring. When the second half began, it was like a new team was on the court in white, and Allen played the biggest role.

Allen and his teammates came out in the third quarter and looked like the championship contender many expect them to be. After falling behind by 11 points after Kris Humphries hit a jumper for New Jersey, the C’s rallied for an incredible 22-point swing in only 7:25 of playing time.

Kevin Garnett started the run by canning an 18-foot jumper off an assist from Pierce, and it quickly continued when Pierce stole a pass from Devin Harris and took it coast-to-coast for a slam dunk to cut the New Jersey lead to seven. From that point on, it was basically the Ray Allen Show. Allen scored 14 points in an array of ways while the Nets scrambled to try and slow him down. During his 14-point spurt, which at that point, was more than any Net had scored in the entire game, Allen drilled two 3-pointers, four free throws, a 15-foot bank shot and a 12-foot pull-up jumper. His trey with 2:53 remaining in the third put Boston ahead 78-67, capping the most impressive turnaround the Celtics experienced this entire preseason.

Key Box Score Line

For the first time in this preseason, Shaquille O’Neal finally eclipsed the 20 minutes player barrier and it showed in his statistics. The big fella was dominant around the paint tonight and had his best game in a Celtics uniform to date.

O’Neal’s minutes had been very limited to this point, but he noted a solid 23:44 in the minutes category tonight. During that time, he managed to score 12 points on 4-of-5 shooting and also grabbed a game-high nine rebounds. And you know that free throw shooting issue he’s been known to have throughout his career? Well, it was missing in action tonight. O’Neal shot 4-of-5 from the free-throw line to help pad his offensive numbers in his final preseason tune-up before Tuesday night’s season opener against the Miami Heat.

Box Score Nuggets

  • Neither team grabbed more than 35 rebounds.
  • Rajon Rondo was the only Celtic starter not to attempt a free throw.
  • New Jersey had more players score in double figures (six) than Boston (five), but still lost by 15 points.
  • Paul Pierce scored a game-high 17 points on 6-of-9 shooting.
  • Pierce did not grab a single rebound in the game.
  • Of the 11 Celtics who scored, three made six field goals and four made four field goals.
  • New Jersey made only one 3-pointer.
  • Brook Lopez did not play in the game.
  • Boston committed 11 turnovers in the first half, then New Jersey committed 11 turnovers in the second half.
  • Glen Davis had another fantastic game off the bench with 14 points and seven rebounds.
  • Rondo dished out a personal preseason-high of 12 assists.
  • The Celtics outscored the Nets in points in the paint (50-32), second chance points (15-12) and fast break points (21-15).
  • Shaquille O'Neal grabbed a game-high nine rebounds.
  • New Jersey shot phenomenal from the free-throw line, making 23 of its 26 attempts.

Quote of the Night

Assistant coach Lawrence Frank on the difficulties of the final preseason game: "I think the last preseason game, typically, is the hardest preseason game in that you don’t want anyone to get injured in the last preseason game. Yet at the same time, you want to keep on building because it’s your last dress rehearsal before the official season starts. I think it’s a little bit tough mentally from that standpoint, especially for a veteran team."