The Celtics didnít need Ray Allen to beat the Nets. Not even a little bit.
Paul Pierce led the Celtics above .500 for the first time this season with 24 points, six rebounds and five assists in the 89-70 win over the Nets at TD Garden.
Brandon Bass (15 points, 13 rebounds) and Kevin Garnett (14, 12) both had double-doubles, Rajon Rondo dished out 12 assists, and Ray Allen sat on the bench with the flu. His status is uncertain for Fridayís game against the Pacers.
The Celtics led by as many as 24 points in the second half after trailing by one point at halftime, outscoring the Nets 29-12 in the third quarter.
"They really turned up the pressure, clamped us down, and smothered us," Nets coach Avery Johnson said. "They're a championship team with a lot of experience. [Kevin] Garnett disrupted a lot of our offense just with his activity and his length and [Rajon] Rondo with turnovers."
End 4th quarter, Celtics, 89-70: The Celtics move above .500 for the first time this season, and the Nets drop to 1-6. Reactions from coaches and players coming up. Stay tuned.
2:55 4th quarter, Celtics, 79-58: Celtics forward Greg Stiemsma took a charge for Jordan Farmar's fifth foul. Farmar has 11 points on 4 of 8 shooting.
5:48 4th quarter, Celtics, 75-55: Garnett has made 6 of 7 for 14 points and has 12 rebounds. Rondo has 12 assists, eight points, three steals and three turnovers.
9:14 4th quarter, Celtics, 67-51: Kevin Garnett played 21 minutes in the first three quarters and entered two minutes into the final period. Then he quickly made a 21-foot jumper to force a Nets timeout.
END 3d quarter, Celtics, 63-47: In 12 minutes, a one-point deficit turned into a 16-point lead for the Celtics. Paul Pierce had something to do with that.
1:33 3d quarter, Celtics, 59-46: Celtics with their best quarter yet. Avery Bradley hit a 3-pointer from the corner, then Bradley made a nice play on the sidelines to force a turnover.
4:55 3d quarter, Celtics, 52-44: A 3-pointer by Pierce forced another Nets timeout. He's up to 18 points on 7 of 12 shooting (2 of 4 from beyond the arc).
6:09 3d quarter, Celtics, 47-44: Nets injury report: Forward Damion James left the game at the end of the 2d quarter with a sore right foot. His return is questionable. He has two points and four rebounds tonight.
7:11 3d quarter, Celtics, 45-44: Nets guard Sundiata Gaines had two straight buckets, then missed a free throw that would have tied the score.
9:18 3d quarter, Celtics, 40-38: Garnett tied the score with a free throw, then a few plays later Rondo rushed down the floor for a layup.
Halftime, Nets 35-34: Kevin Garnett cleaned up on the glass for the Celtics with seven boards, and Rajon Rondo dished out six dimes in the first half. The Celtics led by as many seven in the 2d quarter, but now trail by 1.
End 2d quarter, Nets, 35-34: Neither team shot very well in the first half -- 39.4 percent for the Celtics and 38.5 percent for the Nets -- but the Nets are on top. Brooks leads all scorers at the half with 15 points (7 of 13, two steals), and Pierce is the only other player in double figures with 13 points (5 of 9, five rebounds).
1:45 2d quarter, Nets, 33-31: Shelden Williams tied the score on a dunk and gave the Nets a two-point lead on a jumper. Anyone expect this against the 1-5 Nets?
5:54 2d quarter, Celtics, 28-22: Former Patriots offensive lineman Joe Andruzzi is at tonight's game and got a standing ovation from the home crowd.
6:29 2d quarter, Celtics, 28-22: Celtics starters are back in. Time to pull away?
8:53 2d quarter, Celtics, 22-17: Kevin Garnett had a pretty turnaround 7-foot jumper off the glass before Avery Bradley's two free throws. Garnett makes it look so easy.
END 1st quarter, Celtics, 18-17: The Nets cut the deficit to 1 with a Shelden Williams jumper, a Jordan Farmar free throw and an Anthony Morrow jumper to close the quarter.
1:59 1st quarter, Celtics, 18-12: Pierce has made four of his first five attempts and leads all scorers with 10 points.
7:28 1st quarter, Celtics, 9-4: Paul Pierce forced a Nets timeout with a two-handed dunk on a nice bounce pass from Keyon Dooling.
11:01 1st quarter, Celtics, 3-2: The Nets' leading scorer (in the lineup) MarShon Brooks got the Nets their first points with a turnaround baseline jumper. They'll have to rely on him tonight without Deron Williams.
Check back for live updates throughout the game tonight. We're about to get underway here at TD Garden. Here are tonight's starting lineups:
NEW JERSEY NETS
G: Sundiata Gaines
G: MarShon Brooks
F: Damion James
F: Shelden Williams
C: Mehmet Okur
G: Rajon Rondo
G: Keyon Dooling
F: Paul Pierce
F: Kevin Garnett
C: Jermaine O'Neal