Ford Keys to the Game: Nets 94, Celtics 107
Nets 94, Celtics 107
Want to know how to turn a close game into a blowout? String together a 14-0 run in the second quarter when you’re already leading by four points.
Boston’s 107-94 victory over the New Jersey Nets felt a lot like Wednesday’s victory over the Bucks, not only because the Celtics played so well, but because they displayed such fantastic team play en route to their win.
Their 14-0 run in the second quarter didn’t take place because of one hot hand. No, this occurred because the Celtics turned it up defensively and shared the ball on offense.
Four different players scored during the run, including four points apiece from Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo and Mickael Pietrus. Paul Pierce was the final Celtic to chip in, pitching in two points from the free-throw line. Four of the six buckets during that stretch came via an assist, including three by Rondo.
The offense looked great, but you don’t go on a 14-0 run simply by putting the ball through the basket. You need to prevent the ball from going into the other basket, too.
The Celtics accomplished that goal by introducing a rare scheme – the full-court press. Doc Rivers seemingly chose to employ the press on a whim, and it worked to perfection.
New Jersey’s offense was forced to operate on a shortened shot clock once it got the ball over half court, resulting in several tough shots. The Nets shot 0-for-4 during Boston’s game changing run.
While New Jersey struggled to put the ball through the basket, it also struggled to take care of the ball while the C’s applied pressure. The Nets committed five turnovers in the span of just one minute and 54 seconds.
Ball-hawking defense and unselfish offense will always lead to good things. Tonight, it led to a 14-0 run for the Celtics that turned this game into a 48-30 blowout late in the first half, handing Boston its third straight win.
Key Box Score Line
Paul Pierce hasn’t had it for the past few weeks, but he certainly had it tonight.
The Captain led Boston in scoring with 27 points on a ridiculous 10-of-14 shooting performance from the field. He made shots from everywhere on the floor, including two converted three-point plays and three 3-pointers.
It wasn’t just his shooting that stood out. Pierce also dished out eight assists, which matched the high of any Nets player and trailed only Rajon Rondo’s 13 in the game. He grabbed four rebounds, blocked a shot and finished with the game’s top plus/minus rating of plus-25.
Nearly a month had passed since Pierce went off for a great game offensively. The last time he totaled this many points is when he scored 30 points against the New York Knicks on Feb. 3. We can only hope that’s not a coincidence and that Pierce’s performance tonight is a precursor to what we’ll see from him on Sunday when the Knicks come to town again.
Box Score Nuggets
- Two of New Jersey's starters scored six or less points.
- The Celtics accumulated a ridiculous 35 assists in the game.
- Rajon Rondo accounted for a game-high 13 of those assists.
- Paul Pierce led the Celtics in scoring with 27 points.
- Brook Lopez scored a game-high 28 points.
- Both teams grabbed six offensive rebounds.
- Kevin Garnett (20 points, 10 rebounds) and Rondo (14 points, 13 assists) recorded the game's only double-doubles.
- Chris Wilcox logged 14 points and seven rebounds off of Boston's bench.
- Two of Boston's reserves, Chris Wilcox (seven) and Greg Stiemsma (six) grabbed more rebounds than any of New Jersey's starters.
- Five Celtics grabbed at least four rebounds, led by Garnett's game-high 10.
- Lopez attempted a game-high 10 free throws and made eight of them.
- Boston's 15 turnovers led to 15 points.
- Brandon Bass (eight points) was the only Celtics starter not to score in double-figures.
- The Celtics scored 29 points in each of the first three quarters.
- Two of New Jersey's reserves, Anthony Morrow and Gerald Green, scored 11 points apiece.
- Shelden Williams led the Nets in rebounding with nine.
- The teams combined to score 98 points in the paint.
- Boston's largest lead was 26, while New Jersey's was just two.
Quote of the Night
Doc Rivers on the way Rajon Rondo is running the offense right now: " I think two games in a row now for (Rajon) Rondo, as far as just offensive execution, was off the charts."