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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

KG, Pierce and the Nets Take Round 1 vs. the Celtics

Everyone had the same thought: it was bizarre to see Paul Pierce (4 points, 7 rebounds) and Kevin Garnett (11 points, 9 rebounds) competing in Nets jerseys. The Celtics' legends got their first shot at their old team and they made it count as Brooklyn (7-14 overall, 3-6 home) held off Boston this evening 104-96 at Barclays Center.

For the early part of this season, the expectations for both of these teams were completely off the mark. Boston (10-13 overall, 5-8 away) was supposed to be a pushover while the Nets were built to challenge the Heat and Pacers in the Eastern Conference.

Pierce returned early from a broken hand so with most of their squad finally healthy, Brooklyn actually played well. Deron Williams had a game-high 25 points and seven assists while robot Brook Lopez added 24 points. Something called Alan Anderson scored 15 points and that bum Andray Blatche put up 11 points off the bench.

Avery Bradley paced the Celtics with 22 points. Jeff Green had 19 points and six rebounds, Jordan Crawford and Jared Sullinger each notched 15 points while Brandon Bass had the only double-double in the game (13 points, 11 rebounds).

It was close almost the entire game but the Nets were always in control: up 31-20 after the first quarter, 56-47 at halftime and 85-72 heading into the fourth quarter. Boston stayed in it by hitting eight more 3-pointers (11-3) and scoring 10 more points off turnovers (24-14). Brooklyn shot 11.9% better from the field, hit eight more free throws, grabbed seven more rebounds, had five more assists, 10 more bench points and scored 18 more points in the paint.

The reunion week continues with a back-to-back, Boston returns to TD Garden tomorrow night (7:30, CSN) to face Doc Rivers and the Clippers (14-8, 1st in Pacific Division). It will be his first game against the C's since he left this summer. These two games shouldn't have been this close together but what can you do? The Celtics aren't one of the marquee teams in the NBA anymore so their schedule isn't particularly attractive in many ways.

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