Celtics 107, Nets 94: Paul Pierce, Boston Coast Past New Jersey

Paul Pierce (27 points) and Rajon Rondo (14 points, 13 assists) played major roles in helping the Boston Celtics move over the .500 mark as they defeated the New Jersey Nets, 107-94, on Friday evening at TD Garden in Boston, MA.

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Rumors Abound, But Boston Celtics Are Still Finding The Time To Win

Rumors have burst through the doors and captured many inside the Boston Celtics locker room, but the team has done a superb job of putting all of their distractions aside and focusing on the one thing that will stop them: winning basketball games.

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Celtics Overtime: Rumor Burdened Boston Takes Care Of New Jersey

Celtics Overtime is a postgame feature providing extra news, notes and analysis from each game. Boston defeated the New Jersey Nets, 107-94, on Friday night at TD Garden.

All these trade rumors flying around, and the Boston Celtics still have time to win basketball games. Marvelous, isn't it? Brushing aside all of the Rajon Rondo trade talk and all of that other nonsense, the Celts picked apart the New Jersey Nets in their 107-94 win on Friday.

It was by far the Celtics' most complete game of the second half. Granted, they've only played three games after the All-Star break, so there aren't many games to choose from. Alas, it's a strong start and a solid sign that these rumors aren't bothering Boston one bit. That is certainly encouraging for fans with the march 15 trade deadline nearing every day.

Boston was practically dominant from start to finish, aside from a brief disruption at the start of the second quarter. Offense, defense, rebounding. The Celtics did it all, and got their third straight win because of it.

THE TRUTH RETURNS TO FORM IN FRIDAY'S BIG VICTORY

Paul Pierce wasn't particularly impactful in the first two wins of the Celtics' current trio of wins, scoring 12 and 10 respectively in Boston's wins over the Cleveland Cavaliers and Milwaukee Bucks. Pierce looked much, much better on Friday, putting together a vintage game -- 27 points and eight assists -- to lead the charge.

"I think we are moving the ball a lot better and hopefully hitting our stride right here at home," said Pierce. "We are playing better basketball. We have a huge West coast trip coming up for us in the next couple weeks, so it's important for us to get as many wins as we can under our belt before we hit the road."

Pierce's performance helped the Celtics reach the 100-point plateau for the second game in a row and third time in the last four games. Needless to say, scoring points is something that makes Celtics head coach Doc Rivers very happy.

"Yeah, yeah, we're getting stops. Last three games" Rivers said. "I think two games in a row now for (Rajon) Rondo, as far as just offensive execution was off the charts. You know, he was calling the - he's back to calling a game every night. He made some sensational calls, through our sets. We're doing random less. You know, I think Kevin (Garnett) at the 5 has been very good. We're athletic all of a sudden. You put Kevin and Brandon (Bass) on the floor at the same time with Rondo, all of a sudden we're flying down the floor and we're getting low posts, we're scoring. But overall it's just all that, the defense is good, we're rebounding, and we're running. And that's good."

MICKAEL PIETRUS BOOSTS GREEN WITH TIMELY SCORING

A lot of the time, it feels like Mickael Pietrus is just flinging up three-pointers praying that they go down. Sometimes they don't, but others they will. Friday's game was one of those other times. Pietrus scored 11 points on 4-of-9 shooting to lead the Celtics bench, providing a much-needed energy off the pine, and it's more than just his scoring that helps out.

"He's our energy guy that we use off the bench," Pierce said. "You know when he's out there to start the game he gets us off to a great start, he's such a great rebounder for his size, and he can spread the floor with his point shooting. It was a real big lift to have him out there. We knew we were missing Ray tonight but we knew Pietrus could fill in."

Pietrus started in place of Ray Allen, who did not play due to an undisclosed illness. The first half of the season offered Pietrus and company the chance to settle in and get comfortable, but they no longer have that luxury.

"We don't have many games left so we are going to do everything we can to get above .500," said Pietrus. "I think every team in the NBA is going to try to make a run, including us, so we just have to get ready for the post-season and play Celtics basketball."

RAJON RONDO DOES IT AGAIN. AND AGAIN. AND AGAIN

Seriously, when is Rajon Rondo not on in some capacity? When he's not scoring, he's passing. If he isn't passing, he's probably dropping 20 points. He's been consistently active on both sides of the ball this season, and this game wasn't an exception. Rondo had 14 points and 13 assists while swiping the ball five times as the Rondo train barreled through another opponent.

Rondo, of course, is being mentioned in trade rumors left and right. One day, the Celtics are looking to swap Rondo for Pau Gasol. The next, they're just plain aggressively shopping him. Rondo talked about those rumors after Friday's game. While constant rumors might deter some players, even a younger Rondo, the older Rondo isn't bothered by it.

"I don't know where people are getting their information from, but that was big of Doc to come out with a statement," said Rondo. "People are still going to say that me and Doc have problems. Even after Doc made that the statement he's made, people are still going to say what they want to say."

People will say whatever they want, and Rondo's going to keep doing what he's doing. As long as he's going to continue putting up numbers like this, that's fine by me.

BOTTOM LINE: Yeah, you're supposed to beat the Nets, but it's encouraging that the Celtics didn't just squeak out a narrow victory. They were dominant, nearly from start to finish. The clock is ticking with the trade deadline approaching, but performances like this will go a long way towards keeping this current group of Celtics together.

NEXT UP: Linsanity invades TD Garden as the Celtics host the Knicks on Sunday afternoon.


Final - 3.2.2012 1 2 3 4 Total
New Jersey Nets 20 20 31 23 94
Boston Celtics 29 29 29 20 107

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For more Celtics and Nets coverage, visit our blogs, CelticsBlog and Nets Daily.

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Rajon Rondo Goes With The Headband In Celtics Win Over The Nets

BOSTON - Rajon Rondo has revolutionized the position of point guard in his career with the Boston Celtics. Well, maybe not revolutionized, but he's done a spectacular job playing the position during his career with the Celtics. Rondo has done many things we haven't seen in a long time, and on Friday night, he brought back something we haven't seen in a while. Rondo finally brought back his trademark headband.

"I just felt like a change," said Rondo, who scored 14 and had 13 assists in the Celtics' 107-94 win over the New Jersey Nets on Friday at TD Garden. "You may not see it ever again. It's just what I feel like."

Rondo backtracked on that, though, and considered the success he's had wearing it.

"I'm 1-0 with the headband this year, so I might try to keep it alive" Rondo joked. "I think it's my statement, my signature statement when I won a championship, but who knows. People ask me all the time why I don't wear it anymore. I tried to get a petition but it didn't go through."

Will Rondo wear the headband in effort to stop Linsanity when Jeremy Lin and the New York Knicks come to town on Sunday. Perhaps more importantly, will Rondo be wearing the headband in Boston come March 15?

Let's hope that he will be, but for now, the headband is back and it's undefeated.

For more Celtics and Nets coverage, visit our blogs, CelticsBlog and Nets Daily.

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Rajon Rondo Trade Rumors: Celtics Guard Responds To Trade Talks

BOSTON - Rajon Rondo addressed the lingering trade rumors surrounding him, with reports saying that clashes between him and Boston Celtics head coach Doc Rivers have led to the team aggressively shopping the young star guard. Rondo, who had 14 points and 13 assists in the Celtics' big win over the New Jersey Nets on Friday, says he's used to it.

"It's deja vu," said Rondo, who has been mentioned in numerous trade rumors.

Rondo is in the midst of a career year, averaging 14.2 points and 9.6 assists, which is second in the NBA. Rondo has already recorded three triple-doubles on the year, but that hasn't been enough to quell the trade talks. A recent report from Chris Broussard of ESPN.com said that Rondo and Rivers were frequently butting heads, which Rivers denied.

"I don't know where people are getting their information from, but that was big of Doc to come out with a statement," said Rondo. "People are still going to say that me and Doc have problems. Even after Doc made that the statement he's made, people are still going to say what they want to say."

Rondo said that he and team general manager Danny Ainge have spoken recently, too.

"Danny talked to me a couple of days ago, but Danny and I always talk because of all the trade talk with my name in it, about once a week" Rondo said. "The same thing goes with Doc. Our communication has gotten better over the years."

The trade deadline in the NBA is at 3 p.m. EDT on March 15, 2012.

For more Celtics Trade Rumors, visit our trade stream and blog, CelticsBlog.

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Celtics 107, Nets 94: Paul Pierce, Boston Coast Past New Jersey

BOSTON - Paul Pierce put together his first quality game of the second half, scoring 27 while dishing out eight assists as the Boston Celtics sliced through the New Jersey Nets, winning 107-94 on Friday night at TD Garden.

"I think we are moving the ball a lot better and hopefully hitting our stride right here at home," said Pierce, helped Boston win its third game in a row. "We are playing better basketball. We have a huge West coast trip coming up for us in the next couple weeks, so it's important for us to get as many wins as we can under out belt before we hit the road."

Pierce helped Boston (18-17) get off to a fast start, scoring nine points in the opening quarter as the C's led 29-20 after one. The hot-handed C's made five of their first seven shots and used a 15-4 lead to grab a 16-7 lead near the seven minute mark, and each team scored 13 points a piece to close out the quarter.

The Celtics tried to force the offense through Keyon Dooling in the early stages of the second quarter, but he missed three consecutive jumpers beyond the arc. New Jersey used the opportunity to climb back into the game and trailed 34-30 with 7:02 before halftime. Led by a couple of dunks from Mickael Pietrus, who started in place of a sick Ray Allen, the Celts went on a 14-0 run to take a commanding 48-30 lead, and they would never look back.

"Pietrus has started some games for us before and he's been spectacular," Pierce said of Pietrus. "He is able to come off the bench and give us great minutes for his defensive and shooting ability."

Boston led by as many as 21 points late in the second half and kept up the pace in the third quarter, although the Nets went on a small run to make it an 85-71 game late in the third, but they couldn't sustain the pace.

Kevin Garnett followed up his 25-point, 10-rebound game on Wednesday with another dandy, finishing with 20 points and 10 rebounds. Rajon Rondo had a double-double with 14 points and 13 assists and Mickael Pietrus scored 11 off the bench for Boston.

Brook Lopez, fresh off a scorching 38-point performance against the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday, played well and had 28 points and three boards. Deron Williams, the Nets' leading scorer, had 12 points and eight assists, MarShon Brooks added 11 points and ex-Celtic reserve Gerald Green scored 11 points in his return to Boston.

"I think we stomped out the snake," Rondo said about Williams. "He came out and got 10 points in the first quarter, he was really aggressive. Our bigs did a great job as far as helping me try to slow him down."

The Celtics are off on Saturday as they prepare for all the Linsanity as Jeremy Lin and the New York Knicks come to town on Sunday afternoon.


Final - 3.2.2012 1 2 3 4 Total
New Jersey Nets 20 20 31 23 94
Boston Celtics 29 29 29 20 107

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For more Celtics and Nets coverage, visit our blogs, CelticsBlog and Nets Daily.

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Celtics Vs. Nets Halftime Score: Boston Leading 58-40 At The Break

BOSTON - Another strong first quarter from the Boston Celtics gave way to a slow start in the second, but they restarted their offense, which was enough to give them a 58-40 lead over the New Jersey Nets at halftime at TD Garden.

Paul Pierce led all Celtics with 11 points and scored nine in the first. Boston opened the game shooting 71 percent (5-of-7 shooting) and used a a 15-4 run after trailing 4-2 to grab a 17-6 lead near the seven minute mark of the opening quarter.

After building their lead up to 29-20 after one quarter, the Celtics' offensive attack slowed down considerably, thanks in part to a string of misses from Keyon Dooling, who missed three straight threes. During that time, New Jersey cut its deficit to 31-25 with 8:45 left in the second. Boston led 38-30 with 6:13 left, but used an 8-0 run to take a 46-30 lead with 4:10 remaining. Mickael Pietrus had four points during the run on two dunks and had nine points by the end of it.

Instead of letting up, the Celtics closed out the quarter strong, building their lead up to 21 points, 52-31, with 2:18 to play. New Jersey closed the gap before the half, finishing the quarter with a 9-6 run.

Brook Lopez led the Nets with 15 points and Deron Williams scored 10 in the half. Rajon Rondo had 10 points and seven assists and Pietrus finished with 11 points as well after 24 minutes.



For more Celtics and Nets coverage, visit our blogs, CelticsBlog and Nets Daily.

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Celtics Vs. Nets: Ray Allen (Sickness) Out Friday Night For Boston

BOSTON - Ray Allen will not play for the Boston Celtics on Friday night in their game against the New Jersey Nets at TD Garden, with C's head coach Doc Rivers telling reporters before the game that Allen is fighting a sickness.

"We're pretty good expect for Ray, no Ray tonight," Rivers said. "He's sick. You can't say other words, you have to say sick."

Allen missed some time earlier in the season with the flu and also with the birth of his newborn baby gril. Allen has played in 30 games this season for the Celtics, all of which he has started, and is averaging 14.8 points and 3.0 rebounds. Allen is shooting a career-best .486 from three-point range this season.

Jermaine O'Neal also remains on the sidelines, as he has a sprained left wrist. Rivers said that O'Neal is still considering what to do, as reports surfaced that he will need surgery.

"I just think he's thinking through his options," said Rivers. "He's going to have to have surgery it looks like at some points. We've got to figure out if we can get through it or not. We're just going to wait and see what he decides."



For more Celtics and Nets coverage, visit our blogs, CelticsBlog and Nets Daily.

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Celtics Vs. Nets: TV/Radio Info, Time, Location, Odds And More

Deron Williams and the New Jersey Nets come to town to take on Rajon Rondo and the recovering Boston Celtics on Friday night at TD Garden in Boston, MA.

Event: New Jersey Nets (11-25) vs. Boston Celtics (17-17) - NBA Regular Season, Game 35.

Date/Time: Friday, March 2, 2012 - 7:30 p.m. EDT.

Location: TD Garden (Capacity: 18, 624), Boston, Massachusetts.

Broadcast Info: Friday night's game between the Celtics and Nets will be televised regionally on Comcast SportsNet New England, with Mike Gorman, Tommy Heinsohn and Greg Dickerson bringing you the action. The game can also be heard on the WEEI Sports Radio Network (93.7 FM/850 AM), with Sean Grande and Cedric Maxwell on the call.

Odds: Boston is a 6 1/2-point favorite over New Jersey on Friday night.

Celtics Roster 2011-12: Ray Allen, Brandon Bass, Avery Bradley, Marquis Daniels,Keyon Dooling, Kevin Garnett, JaJuan Johnson, E'Twaun Moore, Jermaine O'Neal, Sasha Pavlovic, Mickael Pietrus, Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo, Greg Stiemsma,Chris Wilcox. Head Coach: Doc Rivers.

Nets Roster 2011-12: MarShon Brooks, Jordan Farmar, Sundiata Gaines, Gerald Green, Kris Humphries, Damion James, Brook Lopez, Anthony Morrow, Mehmet Okur, Johan Petro, DeShawn Stevenson, Deron Williams, Jordan Williams, Shawne Williams, Shelden Williams. Head Coach: Avery Johnson.

Celtics And Nets In 2011-12: Boston and New Jersey have met once this season, with the Celtics posting an 89-70 victory on Wed., Jan. 4 at TD Garden. Paul Pierce scored 24 points and had six rebounds and five assists to lead Boston while MarShon Brooks, a Providence College graduate, led the Nets with 17 points. New Jersey was without stars Deron Williams and Brook Lopez in the loss, but both will play against the Celtics on Friday night.

Last Time Out: Both teams have picked up their play recently, with the Celtics winning their last two. Most recently, the Celtics staved off a late comeback attempt from the Milwaukee Bucks to post a 102-96 win on Wednesday. Kevin Garnett had 25 points and 10 rebounds and made four big free throws in the final minute to capture the win.

The Nets are coming off an impressive 93-92 win over the defending NBA champion Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday. Brook Lopez had a magnificent game, scoring 38 and grabbing six rebounds to pace New Jersey. Anthony Morrow had 15 points off the bench and ex-Celtic Gerald Green scored 10 in his first game with the team. Williams finished with only 12 points but did have 12 assists in the win.

Statistics Central: Paul Pierce is the Celtics' leading scorer, averaging 17.2 points. Kevin Garnett leads the team in rebounding (8.0 RPG) and Rajon Rondo averages team highs in assists (9.6 APG) and steals (1.5 SPG). Jermaine O'Neal leads the team in blocks per game with 1.7. Boston ranks 26th in the league in scoring (89.7 PPG), 30th in rebounding (39.2 RPG), fifth in assists (22.2 APG) and third in points allowed (88.6 PPG).

Deron Williams is the Nets' leader in scoring, assists and steals, averaging 21.9 points, 8.3 assists and 1.1 steals. Kris Humphries leads the team in rebounding (10.7 RPG) and blocks (1.3 BPG). New Jersey ranks 25th in scoring (92.5 PPG), 29th in rebounding (39.8 RPG), 21st in assists (19.9 APG) and 25th in points allowed (99.1 PPG).

Storyline: Be warned, Celtics fans. Boston may have beaten this New Jersey team by 19 points at home earlier this season, but this is not the same Nets team. The squad that the Celtics beat down was missing its top two players -- Deron Williams and Brook Lopez. New Jersey's star duo will be back in uniform Friday, and if their recent play is any indication, they will be very tough to stop.

Williams, an All-Star, continues to put up his strong numbers and can terrorize any opponent. After all, this is the man that temporarily halted Linsanity in New York City with his monster game. Lopez scored 38 points in his last game in a win over the Mavs. So make no mistake, these Nets aren't pushovers anymore. They've won three of their last five.

Boston, meanwhile, is playing better basketball. To some degree, at least. After losing five straight heading into the All-Star break, the Celtics have come out of the gate with two consecutive wins to star the second half. Unfortunately, they didn't exactly beat quality opponents, posting close wins against the Cleveland Cavaliers and Milwaukee Bucks. Both games featured points where Boston was dominant on offense, only to nearly give the game away in the final minutes.

Rajon Rondo has been immersed in trade rumors. Again. The talks haven't had a negative impact on his game before, though. If anything, the rumors have fueled Rondo's play. Rondo didn't have a great game by any means against Cleveland, as he was scoreless, but rebounded with his third triple double of the season on Wednesday against the Bucks. Should the Celtics get a game like that out of Rondo, it may be enough to lead the C's to another victory.

Players To Watch: Deron Williams and Brook Lopez will carry the Nets on offense, and both should have strong games. MarShon Brooks is always a dangerous option, too, and Sundiata Gaines had an admirable game in the last meeting in January. Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen will lead the Celtics, without any surprise.

Prediction: We likely won't see as big of a win against New Jersey this time around, but the Celtics are still the better team on paper. If only that won games, huh? If the Celtics can stop or even limit Williams and Lopez, they stand a good chance to win. They probably won't shut both of them down, but limiting them is not impossible. Final Score: Celtics 89, Nets 85.



For more Celtics and Nets coverage, visit our blogs, CelticsBlog and Nets Daily.

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Jermaine O'Neal Injury Update: Center Contemplating Season-Ending Wrist Surgery

Boston Celtics center Jermaine O'Neal is contemplating season-ending surgery to repair a wrist injury initially suffered last season, the Boston Globe's Gary Washburn reports.

The wrist injury, which flared up recently and has kept O'Neal out of the lineup for the past three outings, is worse than expected. O'Neal said his other options for recovery are to undergo a lesser surgery that would allow him to return this season, or to take a cortisone shot that would likely keep him sidelined for two weeks.

Chris Wilcox has performed admirably in O'Neal's absence, taking advantage of an increased role by snatching 24 combined rebounds in the past two games. Though his interior defense is not on par with O'Neal's, Wilcox uses his athleticism to fill lanes on the break, giving Boston another dimension O'Neal cannot provide.

O'Neal's two seasons with the Celtics have both been clouded by injuries. He played in just 24 games last season and has already missed nine this year.

For more Celtics coverage, visit our team page or our blog CelticsBlog.

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Celtics Schedule 2012: Boston Hosts Deron Williams And Jeremy Lin

Going into the All-Star break the Boston Celtics had lost five consecutive games and seven of their last eight, but following the weekend-long rest, the Celtics have come out of the gates winning two consecutive games against the Cavs and Bucks. They will look to continue to their winning ways this weekend, when they host Deron Williams and the New Jersey Nets on Friday, followed by Jeremy Lin and the New York Knicks on Sunday.

The Nets are 11-25, but coming off an impressive one-point win on the road against the Mavericks, led by 38 points from recent injury-returnee, Brook Lopez. He, along with Deron Williams give the Nets an adequate one-two punch offensively.

On Sunday, the Celtics will get their first taste of Linsanity, who's cooled off a bit lately, averaging nearly 5 turnovers and shooting 43 percent from the field over his last five games.

For more Celtics coverage visit our blog, CelticsBlog.

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Celtics Vs. Nets: Boston Seeks Third Straight Win Against New Jersey

Rajon Rondo meets Deron Williams as the Boston Celtics (17-17) look for their third win in a row against the New Jersey Nets (11-25) at 7:30 p.m. EDT on Friday night at TD Garden in Boston, MA (TV/Radio: CSNNE/WEEI).

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Net Worth: Pros And Cons Of Rajon Rondo, Deron Williams Swap

Deron Williams and Rajon Rondo and great point guards in their own ways, and both are being talked about with the trade deadline approaching. Williams and the Nets are in town to face the Boston Celtics, so it's a perfect time to analyze a potential swap.

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