Celtics 89, Nets 70

Associated Press  |  Last updated January 04, 2012
Paul Pierce scored 9 of his 24 points during a game-breaking third-quarter run and Avery Bradley hit his first career 3-pointer, helping the Boston Celtics beat the injury-depleted New Jersey Nets 89-70 Wednesday night. Reserve Brandon Bass scored 15 and grabbed 13 rebounds, and Rajon Rondo had eight points and 12 assists for the Celtics (4-3). Boston has won four straight since dropping all three of a season-opening road trip. Kevin Garnett had 14 points and 12 boards, Bradley finished with 11 points. Boston broke it open with an 18-3 run to close the third quarter. MarShon Brooks, making his first career start, led the Nets with 17 points, and Jordan Farmar had 11. New Jersey has lost six straight since a season-opening win at Washington. Nets guard Deron Williams missed the game with a sore right ankle, forward Kris Humphries with a sore left shoulder and center Brook Lopez with a broken right foot. Further depleting their roster, starting forward Damion James had his right foot stepped on late in the second quarter and didn't play the second half. Boston guard Ray Allen missed the game due to illness. Neither team shot over 40 percent in a sluggish first half that ended with the Nets up 35-34. To add to its weak shooting first half, Boston had 10 turnovers. But in the third quarter, the Celtics just had too much offense - mainly Pierce. Bass started the spree with a jumper from the wing and Rondo hit a free throw before Pierce nailed consecutive 3s just 34 seconds apart, making it 55-44. He then hit one free throw before Bradley, who played sparingly in just his second season, nailed his first 3 of his brief NBA career and Pierce hit two more free throws, making it 61-46. Bass' jumper late in the quarter gave Boston a 63-47 lead after three quarters. Rondo's jumper midway into the final quarter gave the Celtics a 73-51 lead. NOTES: Brooks became the Nets' fourth rookie since 2000-01 to start within the first seven games of a season. ... Boston C Jermaine O'Neal returned to the starting lineup after missing Monday's game with a tight right hamstring. ... Patriots NT Vince Wilfork was seated courtside. ... Brooks appeared to tweak his left ankle late in the second quarter, but stayed in the game
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