NBA Game Summary - New Jersey at Boston
(Wednesday, February 2nd)
Final Score: Boston 110, New Jersey 89
Boston, MA (Sports Network) - Paul Pierce recorded a triple-double with 28 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists, as the Boston Celtics defeated the New Jersey Nets, 110-89, at the FleetCenter.
Pierce shot 9-of-15 from the field and 10-of-12 from the free throw line for Boston, which built a lead early and cruised through the final 24 minutes.
Boston's starting frontcourt of Raef LaFrentz and Mark Blount outscored New Jersey's starting big men Nenad Kristic and Jason Collins 32-0 and outboarded them 13-6.
LaFrentz had 21 points, eight rebounds and two blocks. Blount had 11 points and five rebounds for the Celtics, who have won two of three and five of their last eight.
"That was a great win for us," said Boston head coach Doc Rivers. "That was as big a regular season game as you can have. New Jersey has been playing great and we got first place back."
Boston's win coupled with Philadelphia's loss to Houston moved the Celtics (22-24) one-half game ahead of the Sixers (21-24) in the weak Atlantic Division.
Jason Kidd had 25 points and Vince Carter tallied 22 points for the Nets, who had a four-game win streak halted.
Boston began to build its lead in the second quarter. Already ahead 32-29 with 3:46 eclipsed in the stanza, a pair of Marcus Banks free throws started a 16-3 run that gave the Celtics a 48-32 cushion. Tony Allen ended the burst with two from the line with three minutes left and Boston carried 55-41 cushion into the break.
The Celtics extended their cushion in the third. Blount's jumper at the 6:26 mark began an 11-0 spurt that gave Boston its first 20-plus point lead of the night, 79-56.
The cushion later ballooned to 87-60 before New Jersey closed out the third with six straight points to send the game into the fourth at 87-66.
Boston cruised through the final 12 minutes, shooting 54 percent for the game compared to just 38 percent for the Nets. Boston also had a 26-18 advantage in assists.
Boston's Ricky Davis left the game in the first quarter with an illness...Banks ended with 13 points...Boston's Gary Payton, who reportedly asked for a trade on Tuesday, finished with 13 points...Bill Thomas had 10 points off the bench for the Nets, who lost nine of 11 regular season games in Boston...Kidd needs five assists to pass former Celtic Bob Cousy (6,955) for 12th place on the all-time list.
02/02 23:11:07 ET