The Boston Celtics came into the Prudential Center in Newark and played with their usual high energy, which the New Jersey Nets were unable to match. The Celtics would lead by as many as 32, on their way to winning their seventh in a row and handing the Nets their worst defeat of the season, 100-75. A balanced Celtic attack was lead by Nate Robinson, who scored 21 points, dished out 6 assists and pulled down 6 rebounds. Robinson, who started in place of Rajon Rondo, who missed the game with hamstring and foot injuries. got the Celtics off to a quick start with 8 points and 2 assists in the first quarter. Kevin Garnett finished with a double-double, scoring 13 points, grabbing 14 rebounds while handing out 4 assists. Ray Allen was also in double figures, scoring 13 points, with 5 rebounds and 4 assists. Glen Davis came off the bench to score 16 points and grab 9 rebounds, while Marquis Daniels scored 10 off the bench.
Jordan Farmar lead the Nets with 16 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 steals off the bench, while rookie Derrick Favors scored 10 off the bench on 4-6 shooting. The Nets had only one starter in double figures, with Anthony Morrow scoring 10 points. Net guard Devin Harris, who returned after missing two games with a knee strain, scored 7 points and dished out 3 assists in 24 minutes on 3-8 shooting.
The Nets trailed early in the game by 8, 21-13, but went on a run at the end of the first quarter to cut the deficit to 27-25. The Celtics turned up the defensive pressure in the second quarter, resulting in the Nets going 5-19 from the field, and being outscored 30-12, for a 57-37 halftime lead by the Celtics.
Shaquille O’Neal would sit out the second half, and the Boston Celtics would close out the game without allowing the Nets to get any closer than 19, with a final score of 100-75.
After the game, Nets Head Coach Avery Johnson said “We had a terrible second quarter and never recovered. They looked like a championship team. They didn’t come in tonight looking to mess around, they took it to us.” On guard Harris, Johnson stated “Devin wasn’t his normal explosive self.”
Celtics Head Coach Doc Rivers praised his bench for their second quarter performance. “They changed the tempo defensively of the game.” When discussing Rando’s late scratch, Rivers said “I think our guys, we try never to make a big deal of an injury or any body’s absence. We just keep playing.”
After the game, Nate Robinson stated “I just try to lead by example.” When I asked him what adjustments he makes when starting, he said “I play the same way I do when I come off the bench.” Rondo jokingly disagreed and exclaimed “No he don’t.”
The Nets have lost nine straight to the Celtics in New Jersey, last winning on April 16, 2006, 95-93.