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We all know that captain Paul Pierce is clearly the team’s leader, but who knew that without him the Celtics would have trouble with one of the worst teams in NBA history? Believe it or not, the Nets led the Celtics at the half and after three quarters before the Celtics survived the scare and beat the Nets 96-87.
Ray Allen stepped up without his teammate, putting up a game-high 26 points (3-7 from beyond the arc) with seven rebounds. Rajon Rondo again looked like the best player on the floor at times, as he finished with 17 points, 11 assists, and three steals. Both players, for most of the game, were the only productive Celtics against a Nets team that has just four wins all season (4-45).
The bench came up pretty big in the fourth, especially Eddie House, who got hot and finished with 10 points. He hit a big three-pointer to begin the fourth quarter, giving the C’s all the momentum they would need.
Rasheed Wallace and Glen Davis combined to score 20 points off the bench, and each finished with three rebounds. ‘Sheed added five assists in a complete effort off the bench. A liability lately, the bench play was strong in the second half against the Nets. They needed to step up without Paul Pierce, and they did just that.
All five Nets starters finished in double figures, led by Brook Lopez who finished with 19 points, six rebounds, and three assists. Devin Harris, their other “best” player, added 17 points and eight assists.
In all, this is a pretty sorry squad. It’s worth mentioning twice: the Nets have just FOUR WINS all season and are careening toward the worst record in NBA history, held by the 9-73 Philadelphia 76ers of 1972-73. They didn’t win one game in October or November as they started an NBA-worst 0-18. Tell me, who is going to sign with the Nets next season?
One question I have: what has happened to Shelden Williams? How come he doesn’t even play anymore? I would have imagined he’d get time with Pierce out, but those minutes went to Bill Walker, who finished with two points in nine minutes. Remind me again what Williams did to deserve this?
The Celtics managed to beat a bad team Friday night, but the same can’t be said for the Magic, who lost to the Wizards. Next up for the C’s is that very same Magic team on Sunday afternoon.