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.