BROOKLYN - It was a near-perfect night in Brooklyn, as the Nets saw Deron Williams and Paul Pierce return to the lineup for their game against the first place Boston Celtics. Williams was in the starting lineup for the Nets, as Pierce came of the bench, with Jason Kidd saying before the game he wanted him to "test out" his protective glove coming off the bench.
Deron Williams was back to his All-Star ways, leading the Nets over a good Celtics team, 104-96. Brooklyn is now 7-14 on the season and have won two in a row, three of the last five and four of the last eight. There were other milestones as well. It was the first time that all five starters were available since November 15, the first time Williams and Brook Lopez had played a full game together since November 13 while the 17-point lead in the third was the Nets' largest since November 4 against the lowly Jazz.
Williams and Andray Blatche, Pierce and Shaun Livingston, the Nets went on a 13-2 run to end the first, carrying a 31-20 lead after one.led the way early for the Nets, combing to score 16 of the team's first 20 points. Still, the Nets weren't able to distance themselves all that much with the Celtics on the defensive end, as Boston stretched the floor early with their 3-point shooting and used their athletic advantage to get to the rim and get fairly open looks. Then, the bench entered the game, and with energy from
Alan Anderson had the hot hand in the second quarter, as the Celtics pulled to within three points late in the quarter. Finally, the Nets were able to stretch out minutes for their starters and use their depth. Fresh bodies, so to speak, against a young Celtics team was the key to Brooklyn being able to carry their lead throughout the second.
At halftime, the Nets led the Celtics, 56-47, after outscoring the Celtics 30-18 in the point in the first half.
The third quarter started off like a "typical third quarter," as the Nets came out struggling. Boston started the third on a 13-4 run to tie the game up at 60-60.
Brooklyn settled down after letting the Celtics tie the game up, as Williams took charge in running the offense and setting off an 10-0 run for the Nets. Williams looked about as good as he has all season on that run.
Lopez, Anderson, Williams and Blatche really carried the Nets through the third, a quarter they've long struggled with. Brooklyn outscored Boston in the third 29-25, shooting 57.1 percent from the floor. They led 85-72 heading into the fourth.
Boston made a bit of a run late in the game. They cut the lead to five at one point, late in the fourth, but that was as close as it got. The Nets used their depth, their size and showed plenty of fight in this one.
This was, without a doubt, about as good of a game as we've seen from Deron Williams all season, giving fans plenty of reason to be optimistic about what the Nets are capable of when healthy.
Williams finished with 25 points and seven assists in 37 minutes, while Lopez went for 24 points on 10-of-13 shooting. Anderson scored 13 points to go a long with Blatche's 11 points and nine rebounds. Garnett with a strong showing, finishing with 11 points and nine rebounds in 26 minutes.
After the game, Garnett used a few four- and six-letter words (not 13, however) to describe how difficult November was for the Nets and in the process set himself up for a fine.
"You have to be optimistic," Garnett said. "It's a long year. November was a s---ty year for us."
Realizing that he was in dangerous territory, KG continued, "I don't care if you (print that). They'll probably fine me for that." The man who's made more than a quarter billion dollars in his NBA career will probably wind up with a five figure fine, just as Gerald Wallace did last month.
Next up is Thursday night at home against Doc Rivers and the Los Angeles Clippers.
For more on the Celtics, see: CelticsBlog
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- 2nd Half Game Thread: Nets vs. Celtics - NetsDaily
- KG and Pierce look fine, C's fall to Nets 96 - 104 - Jeff Clark - CelticsBlog
- Celtics vs. Nets: Highlights (Video) - NBA.com
- Deron Goes Reverse (Video) - NBA.com
- Truth on the Move (Video) - NBA.com
- Williams discusses 104-96 win over Celtics (Video) - Sarah Kustok - YES Network
- Kidd on Nets' big win (Video) - YES Network
- Garnett Talks About Beating his Old Team (Video) - YES Network
- VIDEO: Deron Williams Hits Crazy Scoop Shot Around Jeff Green - The Brooklyn Game
- VIDEO: Paul Pierce nifty pass to Blatche for layup - The Brooklyn Game
- VIDEO:: Gerald Wallace throws basketball at Alan Anderson, draws tech - The Brooklyn Game
- Williams and Pierce Return, and So Does Nets’ Ability to Stay in a Game - Andrew Keh - New York Times
- Deron Williams returns to score 25 points as Nets top Celtics for first win streak of season - Stefan Bondy - New York Daily News
- Deron Williams' return from injury shows he is key to Brooklyn Nets turnaround - Mitch Lawrence - New York Daily News
- Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce get win against former team - Rod Boone - Newsday
- Deron Williams returns and spark Nets to win - Michael Lewis - Newsday
- Jason Kidd isn't so frank about Lawrence Frank - Rod Boone - Newsday
- Deron Williams' return sparks Nets to 104-96 victory over Celtics - Andy Vasquez - The Record
- Nets notes: Jason Kidd-Lawrence Frank blowup - Andy Vasquez - The Record
- Williams returns as Nets top Celtics - Tim Bontemps - New York Post
- Kidd reading Frank’s reports - Tim Bontemps - New York Post
- Paul Pierce adjusts to new role - Tim Bontemps - New York Post
- Deron’s play will determine Nets’ expectation level - Mike Vaccaro - New York Post
- Deron Williams shows Brooklyn Nets what they were missing - Ohm Youngmisuk - ESPN New York
- Nets' defense is still a work in progress - Mike Mazzeo - ESPN New York
- Rapid Reaction: Nets 104, Celtics 96 - Mike Mazzeo - ESPN New York
- Deron Williams Returns To Rescue Nets, Embattled Coach Kidd - Steve Lichtenstein - WFAN
- WINNING STREAK! Nets 104, Boston 96 (GAME GRADES) - Devin Kharpertian - The Brooklyn Game
- Brook Lopez dominates post vs. Celtics - Devin Kharpertian - The Brooklyn Game
- Kevin Garnett, always honest: "November was a s---ty month" - Devin Kharpertian - The Brooklyn Game
- Williams, Pierce return; Nets beat Celtics 104-96 - Ed Boulanger - Nets Take Over
- Deron Williams leads finally whole Nets past Celtics - Baxter Holmes - Boston Globe
- Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett more concerned with the Nets than the Celtics - Gary Washburn - Boston Globe
- Celtics fall to Paul Pierce, Nets - Mark Murphy - Boston Herald
- Frank talk, poor mark put heat on Kidd, Nets - Steve Bulpett - Boston Herald
- Forsberg: C's bring out Nets' best - Chris Forsberg - ESPN Boston
- Notebook: Stevens was on point - Chris Forsberg - ESPN Boston
- Pierce, Garnett get win over Celtics, 104-96 - A. Sherrod Blakely - Comcast Sports Net
- Garnett does the little things to help Nets win - A. Sherrod Blakely - Comcast Sports Net
- Pierce: Still see that Celtics pride - Comcast Sports Net
- Did the Celtics win the trade with the Nets? - Comcast Sports Net
- Too Early To Write Off Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce - Brian Robb - CBS Boston
- Danny Ainge Looking Smarter for Offseason Deals With Nets Sinking, Celtics Surging, Clippers Just OK (Podcast) - Ben Watanabe - NESN
- Trade behind them, Pierce, Garnett net win in first matchup against Celtics - Sean Deveney - The Sporting News