The Boston Celtics dominated the Brooklyn Nets during a 93-76 victory Tuesday afternoon in Brooklyn, but the Nets strung together a typical NBA run in the third quarter to give themselves a chance at a win. Boston, however, quickly returned the contest to blowout status with a key 7-0 run to close the quarter.
Joe Johnson’s free throw with 2:05 remaining in the third period sliced Boston’s once-21-point lead all the way down to eight before Rajon Rondo, Jeff Green and Jared Sullinger restored order. Green got it all started by swishing two free throws at the 1:47 mark of the third. Rondo’s creativity then took over at both ends of the court, as he drew a charge on Johnson in transition and then dished off a sweet pass to Sullinger for an easy layup. After Brook Lopez missed a shot at the other end of the floor with 37.9 seconds left in the quarter, Rondo decided the C’s needed a two-for-one opportunity. That decision led him to pull up in transition for a running 3 that fell through the net with 31.2 seconds left on the clock. Boston didn’t capitalize on the two-for-one, as neither team scored over the final 31 seconds, but Rondo’s 3 crushed Brooklyn’s hope.
It didn’t take long for Brooklyn to cut an enormous deficit down to a manageable one, but it also didn’t take long for Boston to respond. The Celtics, with Rondo leading the way, negated all of the Nets’ momentum with that critical 7-0 run and then cruised to a Christmas Day victory.
Key Box Score Line
Jared Sullinger's 26th career NBA basketball game doubled as his first career Christmas Day game. Maybe he should play on Christmas more often, because this 26th performance was the best of his career.
Sullinger came off of Boston’s bench to tie his career high in scoring with 16 points on 6-of-7 shooting from the field. He also tied his career high in free throw attempts with six, which gives an indication of his aggressiveness at the offensive end.
The Celtics needed Sullinger to be a presence in the paint at both ends of the court against Brooklyn and he was one on Tuesday. In addition to his scoring, he also pulled in seven rebounds, which was bested by only one Celtic (Kevin Garnett's 10 boards). Sullinger’s fantastic play at both ends of the court resulted in him finishing the game with an incredible plus-21 mark in the plus/minus category.
Box Score Nuggets
- Paul Pierce only scored eight points, but he led the game with 10 assists.
- Boston outrebounded Brooklyn 41-36.
- Jared Sullinger (16 points) and Jeff Green (15 points) combined for 31 points off of the bench, which was 10 more than all of Brooklyn's reserves scored.
- Kevin Garnett grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds and also blocked two shots.
- The Nets shot just 40.6 percent from the floor.
- Rajon Rondo scored a game-high 19 points.
- The Celtics committed just 12 turnovers while forcing 20.
- Every Boston player except Jason Collins (minus-6) finished with a positive plus/minus rating.
- Every Nets player except Brook Lopez (plus-1) finished with a negative plus/minus rating.
- Boston outscored Brooklyn in each of the final three quarters.
- The C's scored 46 points in the paint compared to just 34 for the Nets.
Quote of the Night
We're going to need him to continue to play that way. Hopefully he develops some consistency on this road trip to where when guys get doubled, like KG, he can be that guy. Paul Pierce on Jared Sullinger's development