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Celtics vs. Nets final score: Paul Pierce catches fire, Boston loses, 97-96

BOSTON - Paul Pierce scored 20 of the Boston Celtics' first 42 points and finished with 29 points ,but the C's were defeated the Brooklyn Nets, 97-96, in their home preseason opener on Tuesday evening at an energized TD Garden.

Pierce made 7-of-12 shots in the first half and 3-of-4 threes to help Boston take a two-point lead, 49-47, at halftime. With Doc Rivers watching from the locker room, the third quarter featured an offensive barrage for the Celtics, who outscored the Nets, 36-24, behind a nine-point quarter from Pierce.

Courtney Lee had 13 points and Jeff Green, who played a very physical game, totaled 14 points. Kevin Garnett finished with eight points and three boards and Rajon Rondo totaled five points and 11 assists. Boston shot 46.5 percent.

Andray Blatche paced Brooklyn with a team-high 23 points and nine rebounds. Reggie Evans had eight points and 10 rebounds and Mirza Teletovic scored 18. The Nets rested stars Deron Williams, Joe Johnson and Brook Lopez.

Boston is off on Wednesday before playing Brooklyn again on Thursday night.