The Brooklyn Nets had a couple of streaks on the line going into last nights tilt with the Boston Celtics at TD Bank Garden. The Nets were coming off a nice win vs the New York Knicks to tie them for the Atlantic Division lead at 9-4 and looking for a fourth straight win.
The other was to continue to hold opponents under 100 points for the fourth straight game and while doing so make a statement to the Celtics that this Brooklyn team is for real. The Nets had held their opponents to the fewest points per game in the NBA at 90.7.
The game started with the normal vibe of a Celtics/Nets game, and the Celtics were looking for a little revenge from the Nets beating them earlier in the month. In that game the Celtics did not have Rajon Rondo, while the Nets were without Gerald Wallace. The Celtics felt that the Brooklyn win was not as solid because their assist leader wasn’t there although refused to give the same credit to the Nets not having their best defender.
The Nets’ defense was playing solid through the first two quarters and was out hustling and out-manning the Celtics up and down the floor to a lead of 15 points when Kevin Garnett got tired of Reggie Evans manhandling him and gave him a forearm shiver and took the foul.
Not two possessions later, with less than two minutes until halftime, Garnett went to the basket for a layup and Kris Humphries fouled him to stop the basket in a normal way although Rajon Rondo took exception to the foul and went after Humphries. A brawl began from this as Wallace and Garnett got involved and because of this “punk” play three players–Humphries, Wallace and Rondo–were ejected.
The ejections changed the entire feel of the game, and it took on a whole new tenor.
This was one of the most punk moves I have seen in an NBA game in years and Rondo should be suspended for multiple games and then add one more game for just being plain stupid and a fake tough guy on the worlds largest stage.
When the second half resumed the Nets continued to play stifling defense with Evans starting for Humphries and Jerry Stackhouse hitting corner threes to keep the lead above ten most of the second half. Andray Blatche came in for 29 minutes and maybe played his best game as a Net with 17 points and 13 rebounds while playing solid defense especially after Lopez got in foul trouble in the first quarter.
The Nets bench outscored the Celtics bench 52-18 and that was a major factor in the Nets finishing the game strong by holding the Celtics to 83 points. Blatche had two critical offensive rebounds with less than two minutes to go that sealed the win for Brooklyn and Joe Johnson made a few big jumpers to seal it.
One time Johnson crossed up Paul Pierce so bad that Pierce fell to the ground and crumbled.
Players comments on the brawl:
Deron Williams said “We never back down. it’s not being tough guys or anything. We just never back down from anybody.”
Evans had a few comments “It was all for no reason. There was no reason for that. We are just playing hard. That’s all we are doing. That’s just like a mosquito in your face. Eventually, you are going to swat at the mosquito, right?”
Coach Avery Johnson said he’s not concerned that any of his players will be suspended because he doesn’t believe they earned one. “They battled — literally” he said.
This is the latest date in the season that the Nets have led the Atlantic Division since Jan. 2007.
Nets fans don’t let the punk move by Rondo take away from a great win on the road in Boston. NEXT.
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