Regular Season Series (Game 3 of 4)

Series starts 11/10

Game 1: Saturday, November 10th
Game 2: Wednesday, November 14th
Game 3: Friday, January 11th
Game 4: Wednesday, April 16th

Celtics 86

(30-4, 14-2 away)

Nets 77

(18-18, 9-12 home)

Coverage: YES

7:30 PM ET, January 11, 2008

IZOD Center, East Rutherford, NJ

1 2 3 4 T
BOS 22 25 16 2386
NJ 30 14 24 977

Top Performers

Boston: K. Garnett 20 Pts, 11 Reb, 3 Ast, 2 Stl, 2 Blk

New Jersey: J. Boone 14 Pts, 16 Reb, 2 Ast, 4 Blk

Garnett drops 20 as Celtics race to 30th win

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- The Boston Celtics' big three all had big nights against the New Jersey Nets.

In the end, it was the Celtics' reserves that came up big in the fourth quarter in Boston's 86-77 win, the 30th of the season for the NBA's top team.

"We got down on the road and our starters needed some rest," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. "The bench was able to dig it out and get us the win. They were huge for us. Every game, we try to get our big guys rest because its a long season and were trying to give the bench more confidence."

Celtics Turning 30
Boston's 86-77 win over New Jersey gave the Celtics their 30th win after 34 games, tying the fastest a Celtics team reached win No. 30. Here's a look at the Celtics' teams that reached 30 wins the quickest:
Celtics team
Game # of 30th win
Final record
* = Won NBA title
Kevin Garnett had 20 points and 11 rebounds, Paul Pierce added 18 points and Ray Allen scored 16 as Boston (30-4) matched the 1959-60 champion Celtics for the best start in franchise history.

Boston scored 13 consecutive points without Garnett or Pierce on the floor to take a 76-70 lead with 6:12 remaining. The Celtics went ahead for good at 71-70 on a fast-break layup by Glen Davis with 7:55 left. Following a Nets turnover on their possession, Eddie House had another fastbreak basket and Allen followed with a 3-pointer to close out the run.

"The defense started the offense and we did a good job all around," Davis said. "Our bench brought up the tempo in the fourth quarter and pumped up the energy. It was really big. Some nights, the big players are real factors and other nights, we have to step it up. Thats what the bench is for. We were able to get the lead with the other guys not on the floor. We stepped up at the right time."

Richard Jefferson led the Nets with 17 points, Vince Carter had 16 and Josh Boone added 14 and a career-high 16 rebounds. Jason Kidd just missed another triple-double with 11 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists.

The Nets left a lot of points on the free-throw line where they were 9-for-24. New Jersey also struggled from the floor in the final quarter, going 3-for-19. Boston outscored New Jersey 23-9 in the fourth.

"We kept it close and we had a chance of winning," Carter said. "We just couldn't get anything going. We were right there in the fourth. We've got to get it done against the good teams. There are no excuses."

Nets coach Lawrence Frank felt his team simply ran out of steam.

Never Ceasing To Assist
Jason Kidd
Jason Kidd's nine assists Friday in the loss to Boston moved him past Isiah Thomas into fifth place on the career list, 822 behind Oscar Robertson.
Player Assists
John Stockton 15,806
Mark Jackson 10,334
Magic Johnson 10,141
Oscar Robertson 9,887
Jason Kidd 9,065
Isiah Thomas 9,061
Gary Payton 8,966
"It was a combination of their defense and our shots that we couldn't make," Frank said. "There were a couple of poor possessions. We wore down. We exerted a lot of energy in the game."

It was the first meeting between the teams since the Celtics routed the Nets 91-69 on Nov. 14 in Boston. New Jersey, determined to put that embarrassment behind them, started strong, leading 30-22 after one period. Kidd was the dominant force in the period with six points, six rebounds and four assists.

The Nets extended their lead to 39-30 in the second before the Celtics started to find the offensive range. Boston closed out the half on a 17-5 run for a 47-44 advantage. Garnett paced the attack with nine points as Boston was 10-for-13 from the field in the quarter while the Nets made only 5-of-19.

The Nets hung tough with the NBA's top team, taking a 68-63 lead after three quarters. New Jersey got key 3-pointers late in the period from Carter and Nachbar.

Game notes

The assist by Kidd on Carter's jumper with 8:07 remaining in the third was the 9,062 of his career, moving him past Isiah Thomas into fifth place on the all-time list. ... Nets official scorer Herb Turetzky worked his 1,000 consecutive game, a streak that began on May 3, 1984, with a playoff game between the Nets and the Milwaukee Bucks. Turetzky has been the Nets' official scorer all back to the their inaugural ABA season in 1967. ... Allen and Davis were back in uniform after both missed one game, the Celtics 95-83 loss to Charlotte on Wednesday. Allen had a pinched nerve while Davis had a sore right knee. ... Rajon Rondo suffered a lower back injury late in the third quarter and did not return. ... Kidd left the arena without talking to the media. According to Nets spokesman Gary Sussman, the Nets captain was "under the weather" and took fluids intravenously at half time.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

Points 86 77
FGM-FGA 34-71 (.479) 31-85 (.365)
3PM-3PA 5-17 (.294) 6-22 (.273)
FTM-FTA 13-21 (.619) 9-24 (.375)
Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 6-11 12-31
Assists 18 22
Turnovers 15 15
Steals 8 4
Blocks 7 6
Fast Break Points 11 8
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 18 (2/0) 23 (1/0)
Largest Lead 12 12

Top Performers

New Jersey
Kevin Garnett Garnett
Points: 20
Reb: 11
Ast: 3
Stl: 2
Blk: 2
Josh Boone Boone
Points: 14
Reb: 16
Ast: 2
Stl: 0
Blk: 4