After playing big minutes in Brooklyn on Monday, the Nets' starters got the day off in Boston on Tuesday. That might have led to a blow out by the full-strength Celtics, but the Nets' reserves more than held their own and pulled off a 97-96, comeback victory.
"It was great," Avery Johnson said of the win. "Like I told our team, we’ve got a different spirit this year. We can talk about it’s preseason and all of that. But our guys played tonight. Every guy that was in uniform came out there with a purpose.
The Nets led by four at the end of the first quarter and were down by two at the half. An 11-2 run gave then a five-point lead early in the third, but Paul Pierce then caught fire and the Celtics went up by 11.
Boston was up 10 with four minutes to go in the fourth, but with both teams playing the end of their bench at that point, the Nets came back to take a one-point lead when Tornike Shengelia drove baseline, threw down a thunderous dunk and got fouled with 40 seconds left. After Jason Collins got fouled and hit one of two free throws, Stephen Dennis drove the lane for the Nets and got fouled with five seconds on the clock.
Dennis missed both free throws, but Mirza Teletovic grabbed the rebound and got fouled himself. He made one of two and the Celtics couldn't get a good shot off in the final seconds.
Andray Blatche led the Nets with 23 points, adding nine rebounds (five offensive). Teletovic added 18 points, shooting 6-for-17, 4-for-10 from downtown. Reggie Evans grabbed 10 boards and Shengelia finished with 11 points after a rough start. Tyshawn Taylor, like Shengelia playing his first pro game, also did well, finishing with six points and five assists (and a steal off Rajon Rondo) in 18 minutes.
"Consistency has always been one of my major downfalls, so I’m just trying to go out there and compete and give it my all every night," Blatche said. "I am just going out there competing. I’m just trying to do my job, nothing more, nothing less."
Kevin Garnett said of the Nets, "They’re going to be a force to be reckoned with. They’re nothing like last year. They’re gonna be strong." Doc Rivers agreed, "They've done it. They've pulled it off. I think the new arena and all [the move to Brooklyn] helped recruit players. I think it helped keep a player. I think Deron Williams, if they stayed in Jersey, probably wouldn't be there."
- Boxscore - NBA.com
- Nets vs. Celtics: Game Highlights (Video) - NBA.com
- Blatche's Banger (Video) - NBA.com
- Shengelia's Clutch And-one (Video) - NBA.com
- Block of the Night - Carleton Scott (Video) - NBA.com
- Assist of the Night - Courtney Lee (Video) - NBA.com
- Nets rally for 97-96 win over Boston - AP
- Rapid Reaction: Nets 97, Celtics 96 - Mike Mazzeo - ESPN New York
- Rapid Reaction: Nets 97, Celtics 96 - Chris Forsberg - ESPN Boston
- Postgame notes: King of the Hill - Chris Forsberg - ESPN Boston
- Avery: Win over Celtics shows Nets' new spirit - Rod Boone - Newsday
- Nets reserve C.J. Watson hoping to learn from mistake - Rod Boone - Newsday
- Nets’ backup plan sinks Celtics - Tim Bontemps - New York Post
- Taylor solid in debut - Tim Bontemps - New York Post
- Nets out to build Brooklyn bridge, show off-season money was well spent - Stefan Bondy - New York Daily News
Blatche continues resurgent preseason - Gregory Hrinya - Examiner
- Blatche earns start in Boston, earning trust in Brooklyn - Pete Tenney - Brooklyn Fans
- Final: Nets 97, Celtics 96 - Celtics blog - Gary Dzen - Boston Globe
Within the Atlantic Division, there's been plenty of addition - Gary Dzen - Boston Globe
- Final: Nets 97, Celtics 96 - Boston Herald
- Celtics lose to Nets as third-stringers blow lead in final minutes - A. Sherrod Blakely - Comcast Sports New England
- The Nets rise and Celtics challenge - Paul Flannery - WEEI