It was a fierce defensive struggle at the TD Garden in Boston on Wednesday evening, featuring the first bench-clearing brawl of the season. Unfortunately for the 17,000-plus fans that packed into the arena, the home-standing Celtics fell to the Brooklyn Nets by a score of 95-83.
The game began with some back-and-forth with quite a few lead changes before the Nets began to pull away late in the first quarter. A hot-shooting second frame would help Brooklyn take a 13-point lead into halftime. Veteran guard Jerry Stackhouse would provide a spark for the offense, coming off the bench to hit three consecutive three-pointers midway through the second quarter.
The aforementioned brawl would break out with just less than thirty seconds to play in the first half when Kevin Garnett took a hard foul in the midst of a shooting attempt from Nets' forward Kris Humphries. Point guard Rajon Rondo would take serious exception to this, immediately attacking Humphries underneath the basket. After referees had finally pulled everyone out of the scrum, they announced three ejections. Rondo, Humphries and Brooklyn small forward Gerald Wallace would all be forced to hit the showers early and will likely be facing some form of supplementary discipline from the NBA. Losing Rondo for any extended period of time would be a huge loss for a Celtics team struggling to stay afloat here early in the season.
Kevin Garnett led the C's with a double-double of 16 points and 10 rebounds, while Brandon Bass added 16 points of his own. Nets' shooting guard and former Celtic Joe Johnson led all scorers with 18 while adding 5 assists and three boards.
Brooklyn bench players Stackhouse and Andray Blatche were the two true stars of the game, combining for 34 points, 14 rebounds and two assists.
The Celtics and Nets will meet again on Christmas Day at the Barclay's Center in Brooklyn, New York.