BOSTON – That cold smack in the face wasn't the last remains of this brutal New England winter.
It was the sting of losing, something the Brooklyn Nets haven't felt since Feb. 26.
The Nets dug themselves a 17-point, first-half hole, and, like a car stuck in a snowdrift, couldn't dig out in a 91-84 loss to the Boston Celtics Friday night in TD Garden.
The loss snapped a four-game win streak and dropped the Nets back to .500 (30-30).
The loss could have been crushing. Paul Pierce, who has carried this team in absence of Kevin Garnett, who missed his fourth straight game with back spasms, left the game in the third quarter with an apparent shoulder injury.
He returned in the fourth quarter and did not appear to be suffering any lingering effects.
The Nets cut their deficit to 73-70 late in the third quarter but lost traction. Boston (21-41) built its lead back to 82-71. The Celtics, having lost 108-88 at home to the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday, played with more desperation than the Nets.
The Nets were again terrific on defense, forcing 25 turnovers, but they couldn't overcome a terrible shooting performance. They missed 26 of 30 3's. Mason Plumlee (10 points one 4-of-5 shooting and five rebounds) was the only Brooklyn player to shoot 50-percent or better from the field.