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Despite sporting the league’s best defense, the Celtics allowed 111 points to the Nets in New Jersey Wednesday night. Sometimes, teams don’t bring their “A” game, but the best teams tend to find a way to win without playing their best.
Paul Pierce played his best, however, scoring 31 points on 12-14 shooting with five assists and one steal. The Celtics gave Pierce the ball with the score tied at 111, and Pierce hit a tough 17-footer with 20.9 seconds remaining to give the C’s the 115-111 victory.
Doc Rivers drew up three consecutive offensive plays revolving around Pierce, and the C’s converted all those opportunities after nearly blowing a 13-point fourth quarter lead.
Pierce scored on a three-point play to give the C’s a 108-105 lead. The Nets then tied it up with three Jarvis Hayes free throws and took the lead with a Vince Carter three-pointer. On the next play, Pierce caught Ray Allen coming off a screen, and Allen knocked down a three-pointer to tie the game 111-111, setting up Pierce’s heroics.
Kendrick Perkins finished with 17 points and 13 rebounds as the Celtics continue to win without Kevin Garnett. Glen ‘Big Baby’ Davis started in KG’s place, finishing with six points, four rebounds, and four assists.
Stephon Marbury finished with zero points and four assists while playing in the New York area for the first time since the buyout. Marbury, who was booed every time he touched the ball, played with the Nets from 1998-2001.
The Celtics next play Friday night in a showdown with the Cavs.