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.