Boston, MA (Sports Network) – Paul Pierce scored a game-high 31 points as Boston used a strong fourth quarter to dispatch New Jersey, 94-80, at TD Garden.
Kevin Garnett added 14 points and 10 rebounds while Ray Allen scored 12 for the Celtics, who ended a three-game homestand at 2-1 to enter the All-Star break. Rajon Rondo dished out eight assists and added seven points for Boston, which has won all three meetings against New Jersey this season.
Brook Lopez paced the Nets with 18 points. Devin Harris added 16 points and five assists while Anthony Morrow contributed 14 points in the loss. The Nets have now dropped three straight and six of eight overall.
The Celtics opened the fourth with an Allen technical free throw and a Von Wafer jumper to take the lead. Morrow, however, connected on a three-pointer at 9:46 to tie the game at 73-73.
The game remained close and the Nets even took a short lead, 78-77, with a Lopez jumper at 6:18. Allen then drilled a three on the far end to start a 16-0 Boston run to put the game away.
After Allen’s three, Kendrick Perkins made a pair from the line, and Pierce’s trifecta just under the four-minute mark widened the Boston lead to seven, 85-78.
Pierce went 4-for-4 from the line in the run, and Avery Bradley added a pair from the line just over the one-minute mark to end spurt, giving Boston an insurmountable 93-78 advantage.
Boston opened the game on a 10-1 run, and it took until a Jordan Farmar three- pointer at 8:44 for the Nets to score their first field goal. Pierce led the Celtics with 10 points on 5-of-8 from the field, and a late New Jersey run made it a 27-22 Boston lead at the end of one.
The Celtics widened their lead to as high as seven in the second, and Pierce’s jumper at 3:46 gave Boston a 43-36 lead. The Nets ended the second on a 10-3 run, tying the game at 46-46 at the half.
Pierce scored 11 of Boston’s 24 third quarter points, and the Nets shot 52.9 percent from the field, as the game was locked at 70-70 entering the final stanza.
The New Jersey Nets will attempt to enter the All-Star break on a winning note -- and snap a two-game losing streak -- when they take on the Boston Celtics Wednesday night at TD Garden.
Avery Johnson's squad is trying to bounce back from a 102-85 loss to the San Antonio Spurs, the NBA's best team. Brook Lopez and Travis Outlaw led the way for the Nets in a losing effort with 11 points each. Devin Harris was the only other starter in double figured with 10.
Boston is coming off Sunday's emotional victory over the Miami Heat. Rajon Rondo picked up a triple-double for the Celtics while Kevin Garnett had 19 points and seven rebounds.
The Celtics have taken the first two games between these two teams this season and have won 14 of the last 15. The Nets are 4-24 on the road this season and have dropped six of seven and seven of their last 11 in Boston.
The Nets will head home for the All-Star break after Wednesday's game and aren't back in action until Friday, February 25 against the Spurs in San Antonio.