THE FACTS: Spurred by a dominant second quarter (34-18), the Celtics opened up the NBA's Christmas slate with an easy 93-76 victory over the Nets. The Nets did little against a tough Celtics' defense, committing 20 turnovers and shooting 40 percent from the floor. Rajon Rondo (19 points, six rebounds,five5 assists) made key plays in key moments. Kevin Garnett led the vaunted Boston defense and Paul Pierce played the role of provider (10 assists). Gerald Wallace (15 points, seven assists) was the only Net to play even remotely close to his capabilities.
QUOTABLE: "I think we're getting better. I think we're very, very close to becoming a good team, but we're not yet."
-- Celtics coach Doc Rivers
THE STAT: The Nets' 20 turnovers hampered their ability to remain in the game.
TURNING POINT: In drawing a charge far away from the basket, feeding Jared Sullinger for a layup, and sinking a 3-pointer, Rondo helped the Celtics close out the third quarter on a 5-0 run while stopping the Nets' charge back into the game. The Celtics entered the fourth quarter up 73-58 and weren't really challenged in the final frame.
QUOTEABLE II: "When we have a couple bad plays the team wants to feel bad about it and that creates a bad atmosphere. That is something we have to get away from."
-- Nets guard Jerry Stackhouse
INSIDE THE ARENA: Barclays Center remained festive for much of the afternoon despite the lopsided score. Hostility between the two teams added to the vibe.
ROOKIE WATCH: Sullinger was very effective and efficient inside, scoring 16 points and grabbing seven rebounds.
NOTABLE: Stackhouse played in his first Christmas Day game. A 17-year veteran, Stackhouse was the longest tenured NBA player to never play on Christmas. ... Wallace and Garnett engaged in a confrontation in the third quarter after Wallace tried to brace his fall by holding on to Garnett's jersey. Garnett and Wallace were a part of a scrap that took place in Boston a month ago the last time the teams played. Wallace, Garnett, Andray Blatche, and Courtney Lee all picked up technical fouls. Wallace was later flagrant-fouled by Sullinger midway through the fourth quarter. ... The Nets shot 17-29 (58.6) from the free-throw line.
UP NEXT: For the Celtics, Thursday @ L.A. Clippers, Saturday @ Golden State, Sunday @ Sacramento. For the Nets, Wednesday @ Milwaukee, Friday @ Charlotte, Saturday vs. Cleveland.