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Nets edge Celtics as Pierce, KG return to Boston

Boston, MA (SportsNetwork.com) - Andray Blatche scored 17 points off the bench to lead the Brooklyn Nets to an 85-79 win over the Boston Celtics in Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett's inaugural return to Beantown.

Pierce spent 15 seasons as a Celtic and Garnett joined him for six of those years, as both were integral parts in helping Boston win its 17th NBA title in 2008. Both players were sent to Brooklyn as part of a draft night trade and a new era in Boston had begun.

With Brooklyn clinging to an 80-77 lead, Garnett stole a Rajon Rondo pass as the Boston point guard tried dropping it off to Brandon Bass with 20.9 seconds left and the shot clock winding down. Garnett raced down the floor for an uncontested layup that helped the Nets to their fifth straight victory and 10th win in their last 11 games.

"I knew they needed a 3-pointer at that point and I just played the passing lane," Garnett said of stealing the Rondo pass. "It took me two days to get the layup up I thought I was gonna get caught but I got it still, put the ball in front of me, and I got the layup."

Pierce and Garnett finished with six points apiece as the former shot 2-for-10 and didn't register a bucket until 9:09 left in the third quarter.

"I was telling Kevin (Garnett) and everybody this was the toughest game I ever had to play," Pierce said of returning to Boston. "Tougher than any championship game, or any game seven. This game was just really hard to focus and concentrate on what was at hand."

Alan Anderson and Andrei Kirilenko each added 11 points in the win.

Bass paced Boston with 17 points, while Rondo scored 13 points with eight rebounds and eight assists. Gerald Wallace and Chris Johnson contributed 12 points apiece in the setback.

"I think I could shoot the ball a little better, but I can always do better and do little things to help the team," Johnson said.

The Celtics have lost two straight and are 3-17 in their last 20 games.

Boston's faithful gave the duo a standing ovation during player introductions and the Celtics set up video montages for each player throughout timeouts during the first quarter.

The Nets seemed to have trouble in the early going dealing with the emotions that came with the return of two future Hall-of-Famers as the Celtics crawled out to a 17-11 lead after 12 minutes of play.

Blatche scored seven points during a 16-2 surge that gave the Nets a 27-21 lead midway through the second stanza. Rondo hit a 3 to close the scoring in the first half and Boston trailed 35-34 at the break.

Pierce, who was 0-for-3 from the field in the first half, got on the scoresheet early in the third with a pair of free throws that started a 10-0 burst. He then capped the run with his first made basket after a pair of 3s from Anderson and Brooklyn led 45-36.

The Nets stretched their lead to double digits numerous times in the third and Kirilenko split a pair at the line early in the fourth to give the visitors their largest lead of the game at 68-56.

Boston answered with a 14-5 run that Johnson capped with a trey to cut the deficit to 73-70. The Nets, though, would score five straight before the Celtics again cut into the margin and trailed by three to set up Garnett's clutch steal in the closing seconds.

Game Notes

Brooklyn shot 6-for-25 (24 percent) from beyond the arc and Boston made 7- of-26 (26.9 percent) attempts from distance ... The Nets outscored the Celtics 40-26 in the paint ...Brooklyn scored 17 points off 18 Boston turnovers.

01/27 00:22:38 ET

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Schedule

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Miami «99
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Chicago93
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Houston120
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Standings

2013 - 2014 Eastern Conference Standings
 
Atlantic W L PCT GB Home Away Conf Streak
y-Toronto 48 34 .585 --- 26-15 22-19 32-20 L 1
x-Brooklyn 44 38 .537 4 28-13 16-25 26-26 L 2
New York 37 45 .451 11 19-22 18-23 26-26 W 4
Boston 25 57 .305 23 16-25 9-32 21-31 L 2
Philadelphia 19 63 .232 29 10-31 9-32 14-38 W 2
 
Central W L PCT GB Home Away Conf Streak
y-Indiana 56 26 .683 --- 35-6 21-20 38-14 W 2
x-Chicago 48 34 .585 8 27-14 21-20 35-17 L 1
Cleveland 33 49 .402 23 19-22 14-27 21-31 W 1
Detroit 29 53 .354 27 17-24 12-29 23-29 L 4
Milwaukee 15 67 .183 41 10-31 5-36 12-40 L 3
 
Southeast W L PCT GB Home Away Conf Streak
y-Miami 54 28 .659 --- 32-9 22-19 34-18 L 3
x-Washington 44 38 .537 10 22-19 22-19 33-19 W 4
x-Charlotte 43 39 .524 11 25-16 18-23 30-22 W 3
x-Atlanta 38 44 .463 16 24-17 14-27 28-24 W 1
Orlando 23 59 .280 31 19-22 4-37 17-35 L 4
 
x= clinched playoff berth
y= clinched division title
2013 - 2014 Western Conference Standings
 
Northwest W L PCT GB Home Away Conf Streak
y-Oklahoma City 59 23 .720 --- 34-7 25-16 36-16 W 1
x-Portland 54 28 .659 5 31-10 23-18 31-21 W 5
Minnesota 40 42 .488 19 24-17 16-25 23-29 L 3
Denver 36 46 .439 23 22-19 14-27 20-32 L 2
Utah 25 57 .305 34 16-25 9-32 13-39 W 1
 
Pacific W L PCT GB Home Away Conf Streak
y-LA Clippers 57 25 .695 --- 34-7 23-18 36-16 L 1
x-Golden State 51 31 .622 6 27-14 24-17 31-21 W 2
Phoenix 48 34 .585 9 26-15 22-19 28-24 W 1
Sacramento 28 54 .341 29 17-24 11-30 15-37 L 1
LA Lakers 27 55 .329 30 14-27 13-28 15-37 W 2
 
Southwest W L PCT GB Home Away Conf Streak
y-San Antonio 62 20 .756 --- 32-9 30-11 38-14 L 2
x-Houston 54 28 .659 8 33-8 21-20 31-21 L 1
x-Memphis 50 32 .610 12 27-14 23-18 29-23 W 5
x-Dallas 49 33 .598 13 26-15 23-18 29-23 L 1
New Orleans 34 48 .415 28 22-19 12-29 15-37 W 2
 
x= clinched playoff berth
y= clinched division title
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Scoreboard
Local
Final
NOR 6
DUR 3
 
Final
MIA 99
CHA 88
12:05pm Today
NOR
DUR
 
Final
CLE 6
TOR 4
Final
DET 2
ANA 1
Final
NYM 4
ATL 3
Final
MIA 3
SEA 2
Final
PIT 2
MIL 3
Final
WAS 3
STL 2
Final
TAM 1
NYY 5
Final
KAN 3
MIN 8
Final
CHC 2
CIN 8
Final
TEX 2
CWS 16
Final
OAK 4
HOU 1
Final
LOS 4
ARI 1
Final
COL 9
PHI 10
Final
SDP 3
SFG 4
Final
BOS 6
BAL 5
11:05am Today
BOS
BAL
 
7:05pm Tonight
PIT
CIN
 
7:05pm Tonight
CLE
KAN
 
7:05pm Tonight
WAS
ANA
 
7:08pm Tonight
DET
CWS
 
7:10pm Tonight
ATL
MIA
 
7:10pm Tonight
NYM
STL
 
8:05pm Tonight
CHC
ARI
 
8:10pm Tonight
MIL
SDP
 
8:40pm Tonight
COL
SFG
 
10:05pm Tonight
OAK
TEX
 
10:10pm Tonight
SEA
HOU
 
10:10pm Tonight
LOS
PHI
 
Final
SAN 90
DAL 85
Final
MIA 99
CHA 88
Final
CHI 93
WAS 102
Final
HOU 120
POR 122
8:00pm Tonight
OKC
MEM
10:30pm Tonight
LAC
GSW
Final
NYR 2
PHI 4
Final
BOS 4
DET 1
Final
MON 3
TAM 2
Final
SJS 7
LOS 2
7:00pm Tonight
MIN
COL
7:00pm Tonight
CLB
PIT
8:30pm Tonight
CHI
STL
9:30pm Tonight
DAL
ANA
Final
NOR 6
DUR 3
 
12:05pm Today
NOR
DUR