The Celtics fell behind the Nets by 16 points midway through the third quarter of Wednesday’s game. Boston never gave up, but its inability to execute on key possessions, coupled with Brooklyn’s timely points, dropped the C's back into the loss column.
It took only three minutes and seven seconds of playing time for Boston to cut Brooklyn’s 16-point lead in half. Paul Pierce’s free throw with 2:40 remaining in the third made it a 70-62 game. The Nets, however, answered quickly with their first pivotal basket of the contest. That basket came from Joe Johnson, who canned a 3-pointer that made it an 11-point game. Brooklyn took a 10-point advantage into the fourth quarter.
Johnson’s 3-pointer was a play that Brooklyn made to maintain its lead. The opposite took place in the opening minutes of the final period, as Boston’s flounders helped the Nets keep a comfortable lead.
Jordan Crawford was fouled in the opening minute of the fourth and could have cut the lead down to eight with his free throws. He only capitalized on one, while Kris Humphries followed up with two free throws for Brooklyn that bumped the lead back up to 11. Shortly after those freebies, Humphries answered a layup from Terrence Williams with a slam dunk in the paint.
Brooklyn’s lead swelled up to 14 points but the C’s made one more push. They cut their deficit down to nine after Jeff Green’s and-one layup at the 7:15 mark of the fourth. Boston was back in business and the Garden crowd was roaring, but the spurt was stalled when Crawford fouled Deron Williams at the other end of the court. Williams cashed in on both free throws to take the lead back up to 11.
Crawford put some juice back into the crowd on Boston’s following possession when he made an incredible follow-up dunk after a missed layup by Green. The C’s then forced a miss out of Brooklyn and took possession of the ball while trailing 91-82 with 5:45 remaining.
This was a key moment. The C’s had the ball with about six minutes left and owned an opportunity to make it a seven-point game. Unfortunately for them, they shot themselves in the foot once more with an ugly turnover by Pierce that led to a 20-foot jumper by Williams.
So many opportunities, but so many mistakes. The Celtics could have made this a game down the stretch but they faltered on every key possession. Brooklyn deserves credit for taking advantage of those fumbles and walking away with a 101-93 victory.
Key Box Score Line
Avery Bradley left Wednesday night’s game against the Brooklyn Nets after picking up his second foul with 8:16 remaining in the first quarter. That was Deron Williams’ signal to turn up the offensive aggression.
Williams took advantage of Bradley’s absence by attempting a game-high 18 shots. He hit nine of them to help him score a game-high 29 points. Williams’ night at the charity stripe also helped his cause, as he shot a perfect 10-of-10 from the line.
Boston had no answers for Williams in any aspect of the game. The point guard dominated in the scoring column all while dishing out a game-high 12 assists. Williams totaled those assists while committing just one turnover in more than 39 minutes of play. He also tied for second on the Nets in rebounds with four and logged one blocked shot.
Box Score Nuggets
- Brooklyn scored 20 points off of Boston's 13 turnovers.
- Brook Lopez's two blocks matched Boston's team total.
- Paul Pierce led the Celtics with 23 points.
- Reggie Evans, who grabbed 14 boards, was the only Nets player to grab more than four rebounds.
- The Celtics outscored the Nets in the paint by a count of 42-36.
- Brooklyn shot a phenomenal 25-of-28 from the free-throw line.
- Boston grabbed more offensive rebounds (10) than Brooklyn (nine).
- Avery Bradley picked up five fouls in just 12 minutes of play.
- Three Nets, Deron Williams (29 points), Brook Lopez (21 points) and Joe Johnson (20 points) scored at least 20 points.
- Shavlik Randolph led the Celtics with nine rebounds.
- Williams dished out a game-high 12 assists.
- Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Brandon Bass each attempted 11 field goals.
- Brandon Bass finished with a brutal plus/minus rating of minus-24.
- Williams shot a perfect 10-of-10 from the free-throw line.
- Both teams scored seven fast break points.
Quote of the Night
Avery’s a tough defender and you can’t really afford to play around with the ball, so I was just trying to make quick moves – one or two dribbles and then go. Deron Williams on facing Avery Bradley's defenseMore quotes >>