Wednesday, May 22, 2013
The Associated Press
NEW YORK - Paul Pierce scored 18 points despite briefly leaving with an ankle injury, and the Boston Celtics spoiled the Brooklyn Nets' return to national TV with a 115-85 exhibition victory Thursday night.
Courtney Lee also had 18 for the Celtics in a rematch of the Nets' 97-96 victory in Boston two nights earlier. The Nets rallied to pull that one out even while resting their starters, but fell too far behind for a comeback.
Jason Terry made all five of his 3-point attempts for 15 points and Pierce was 4 of 4 behind the arc as the Celtics shot 56.5 percent overall from the field and 11 of 19 (58 percent) on 3-pointers.
Brook Lopez scored 14 points for the Nets, who lost for the first time in four preseason games. All-Star guards Deron Williams and Joe Johnson shot a combined 6 of 22 from the field.
The game was televised by TNT, the Nets' first national TV appearance since a March 30, 2011, game at the Knicks.
But while the Nets' $1 billion new arena and upgraded roster are earning them plenty of recognition, their game doesn't look quite ready for prime time.
Still, they earned praise before the game from Celtics Coach Doc Rivers, who said the Nets' rebirth in Brooklyn was "terrific."
Added Rivers: "I've never seen a team rebrand themselves in six months."
But Rivers' team has ruled the Atlantic Division for five years, and Pierce and the Celtics seemed to send a message that they are planning to keep it that way.
Rajon Rondo had 14 points and nine assists, and Kevin Garnett finished with 14 points for the Celtics, who had been 0-3 against NBA teams.
THE CELTICS signed free-agent guard Leandro Barbosa, who will fill in as the backup point guard while Avery Bradley recovers from shoulder surgery.
Barbosa appeared in 64 games for Toronto and Indiana last season, averaging 11 points and 1.5 assists per game. He was the leading scorer for Brazil at the London Olympics.
Barbosa was the NBA's Sixth Man of the Year in 2006-07 with a career-best 18.1 points and four assists per game.