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National Basketball Association
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                       === Rondo, Celtics handle Nets ===
 Boston,  MA (  - Paul  Pierce returned  home again,  but his
 second trip to Beantown was far like the first.
 Rajon  Rondo  had 20  points, nine  assists and seven  rebounds and the Boston
 Celtics defeated the Brooklyn Nets, 91-84, on Friday night.
 The Celtics overcame 28 turnovers by outrebounding the Nets, 51-28.
 "Obviously the difference in the game for us," Celtics head coach Brad Stevens
 said. "We shared the ball pretty well with our team, and theirs."
 Brooklyn  beat  the Celtics, 85-79, in  the initial showdown in Boston on Jan.
 Kevin  Garnett missed his  fourth straight game due to back spasms. He did not
 make the trip to Boston to face his former team.
 Pierce,  the  second leading scorer  in Boston history,  spent 15 seasons as a
 Celtic and Garnett joined him for six of those years. Both were integral parts
 in  helping Boston win  its 17th NBA title in 2008. They were sent to Brooklyn
 as part of a draft night trade during the offseason.
 Pierce finished with 10 points on 4-of-11 shooting.
 Jeff  Green  netted 15  points, while  Jerryd Bayless added  14 points and six
 boards for Boston, which had dropped seven of its last eight coming in.
 Joe  Johnson tallied 21  points and seven rebounds for the Nets, who had their
 four-game  winning  streak snapped and fell  back to .500 two days after going
 over for the first time this season.
 "We  need  to keep working, keep  grinding and understand we can't take anyone
 lightly," Nets head coach Jason Kidd said.
 The  Celtics were up 64-46 early in the third following Kris Humphries' layup,
 but  Brooklyn countered with an 18-6 run to get back in it. Consecutive three-
 point  plays by Andrei Kirilenko and Marcus Thornton capped the surge and made
 it 70-68.
 Boston,  though, closed  the third  on an  8-2 spurt.  Two Chris  Johnson free
 throws  concluded the flurry and gave the hosts a 78-70 cushion going into the
 The  Celtics  led by as many  as 12 in the  final frame before cruising to the
 Boston was up 26-20 after a quarter of play and 53-41 at the break.
                                   Game Notes
 The  Celtics shot  44.3 percent (31-of-70) from the floor ... The Nets tallied
 26  points off  the  Boston  turnovers ...  Brooklyn  was  just 4-of-30  (13.3
 percent) from beyond the arc.
 03/08 01:20:52 ET

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