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Finishing Strong: Celtics Take Preseason Finale Over Nets, 107-92

Boston, MA (Sports Network) - Paul Pierce led a balanced Boston attack with 17 points, and the Celtics closed out a successful preseason with a 107-92 triumph over the New Jersey Nets.

Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Glen Davis each posted 14 points for the Celtics, who concluded the exhibition campaign with a 7-1 mark. Boston begins defense of its Eastern Conference crown next Tuesday with a home game against a new- look Miami Heat team featuring LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.

Shaquille O'Neal ended with 12 points and nine rebounds, while Rajon Rondo contributed 12 assists as the Celtics showed off what's expected to be their starting lineup for the regular season.

Derrick Favors had 16 points off the bench for the Nets, who went 3-5 in the preseason and will open regular season play next Wednesday at home against Detroit. New Jersey's first four games will be at the Prudential Center.

The Nets, who blew a 14-point second-quarter lead, committed 20 turnovers, leading to 31 Boston points. The Celtics shot a sizzling 15-of-19 from the field in the third quarter, on the way to a 36-16 scoring margin in the period. Allen scored all of his points during the quarter. The Celtics went on a 28-6 run during the stanza, finished off by an Allen three-pointer for a 78-67 lead inside three minutes left.

The Celtics carried an 84-71 lead into the fourth and were ahead by as many as 22 in the last quarter.