|Francona Wins Big in Return to Fenway||Connelly’s Top Ten: Rask Falls on Face||Bruins Lose 4-3 in OT as Rangers Fight to Stay Alive||For the Bulletin Board: Lundqvist’s “Lucky Bounces,” Savard’s “#ByeByeTorts”|
Boston got a good challenge from lowly New Jersey, but even the presence of Rex Ryan couldn’t get the Nets past Boston (who took the win 94-82). Boston had trouble getting ahead of New Jersey early, and couldn’t get past a five-point lead in the first five minutes without New Jersey immediately making a move back. Perhaps flustered, Boston went 2:54 without a point (and 3:56 without a field goal) to give New Jersey a six-point lead, which expanded to nine and settled at six by quarter’s end.
Once the 2nd quarter started, the teams essentially swapped roles. Now, it was New Jersey starting off by attempting to hold off Boston; no team had a lead even equal to the six points that was the difference at intermission once Boston hit the first bucket. Boston did an excellent job clawing their way back into the game, but a buzzer-beating three allowed New Jersey to tie the game heading into halftime.
But that’s where the very close nature of the game came to an end. Boston scored the first nine points of the second half and never looked back. New Jersey’s baskets were limited, while Boston had the much better field goal percentage, including consecutive threes from Avery Bradley. The lead was extended all the way to fifteen with half a minute remaining in the period, allowing the Celtics to get some extra rest for their regulars the rest of the way.
While neither team was especially impressive in the final 12 minutes, the Celtics were still able to match New Jersey, who never got the deficit back into single digits. They did briefly manage to get it down to 10, but with 1:04 remaining at the time, the towel was all but thrown in for New Jersey.
KG led the team in scoring and rebounds, and even tied Greg Stiemsma for the lead in steals.
In 3:31, pretty much all Hollins manage to do was pick up four fouls (one every 52.75 seconds).