THE FACTS: The Nets overcame a dreadful third quarter to defeat the Rajon Rondo-less Celtics, 102-97, at Barclays Center. An efficient Brook Lopez (24 points, six rebounds, 11-for-14 shooting) paced the Nets. Paul Pierce (22 points) came alive in the second half for the Celtics, but missed two crucial free throws down the stretch. Brooklyn's backcourt, Deron Williams and Joe Johnson, combined for 43 points and 12 assists, but inefficiently turned up the volume on their shooting, combining for 12-36 (33 percent) from the floor.
QUOTABLE: "We can't wait to turn it on when we get down and decide to play. It has to be from the start, especially when we are down without our point guard, which is our leader."
THE STAT: The Nets chased down 15 of their 18 offense rebounds in the first half, part of the reason they had another sizable early lead at home.
TURNING POINT: With the Nets up 93-92 after a Jeff Green corner three, Williams drove the lane, got fouled, and canned two free throws. The shots began a free throw parade thanks to Avery Johnson's decision to foul Boston's shooters instead of allowing them looks at 3-pointers. During that span, Williams drew what appeared to be a phantom foul off of an inbounds play, allowing the Nets to remain in control.
QUOTABLE II: "I am happier for the fans. When they start doing the Brooklyn chant, I enjoy hearing it."
-- Joe Johnson, on the crowd
INSIDE THE ARENA: Victor Cruz of the Giants and the actress Ellen Pompeo sat courtside ... The crowd was louder than it had been in recent games and small pockets of Celtics fans made themselves heard.
ROOKIE WATCH: Jared Sullinger was largely ineffective for the Celtics, committing two fouls in under eight minutes.
NOTABLE: The Nets bench shot 0-7 in the third quarter when the Celtics regained control of the game for a time.
UP NEXT: For the Celtics, Saturday vs. Toronto, Sunday @ Detroit, Wednesday vs. San Antonio. For the Nets, Thursday vs. Boston, Sunday @ Sacramento, Tuesday @ LA Lakers, Wednesday @ Golden State.