The new look Nets came to town to face-up against the Boston Celtic’s at home in the TD Garden. Brooklyn entered the Garden as one of the most improved teams in the Atlantic Division and hope to compete for a division title. The Nets were able to hold onto their franchise player, Deron Williams by bringing in six time NBA All-Star Joe Johnson. The Celtics and their fans have gotten to know Johnson well over the course of the last few years battling in the playoffs with the Atlanta Hawks. This unique make-up presents quite a tough assignment for the Celtics guards as they are arguably one of the best starting 1, 2 duos in the league.
The game was exciting throughout with the Celtic's just falling short in the end 97 to 96. The Celtics started a lineup consisting of Rondo, Lee, Pierce, Sullinger, and Garnett. Surprisingly the Brooklyn Nets decided to start their reserves and sit their normal starting five made up of Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Gerlad Wallace, Kris Humphries, and Brook Lopez. Of the Celtics starters, Paul Pierce exploded to a game high 29 points in 27 minutes and hit 6 of 9 shots from behind the three point line. Jared Sullinger started again and faced a tough match up against Andre Blatche who poured in 23 points, a team high for the Nets. Rajon Rondo played well getting 5 points and 11 assists. The team as a whole rebounded well grabbing 35 boards but were still beaten to that of the Nets 41. The turnover battle continued but the Celtics were able to reduce the number to 17.
The game came down to the final seconds, when Stephen Dennis of the Nets went to the line and missed both free throws. The Celtics we called for a lose ball foul off the second free throw giving Brooklyn another chance at the lead. Tornike Shengelia stepped to the line and knocked down one of two shots to put the Nets up one and leaving about four seconds to score for the Celtics. Doc Rivers remained in the locker room after half so the rest of the coaching staff drew up a play giving Micah Downs a tip-in shot from an alley-opp pass but it was knocked out of bounds leaving just 1.3 seconds on the clock. The balance of game fell into the hands of Kris Joseph but his shot was just off the mark. Hours before the game unexpected news hit Celtic nation when the team announced the release of Jamar Smith and Dionte Christmas. Had Kris Joseph hit that shot it may have further benefited his case for a chance with the team.
The loss moved the Celtics preseason record to 1-4 as the Nets went to 3-0. The two teams will face-off again Thursday night in Brooklyn's all new Barclay's Center.
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