BROOKLYN, NY - Kevin Garnett played his usual minutes and for the most part, had a pretty typical game with 14 points and seven rebounds.
But with no Rajon Rondo and the C's having their usual struggles rebounding the ball, Garnett's solid game was simply not enough as the C's suffer a 102-97 loss to the Brooklyn Nets.
"When you give a team 15 offensive rebounds, that's 15 extra chances to score on you. That doesn't help," Garnett said.
But unlike Wednesday's win over Utah, Garnett did not play the entire fourth quarter - but he came pretty darn close.
Instead, he got a whopping 26 seconds on the C's bench in the fourth quarter.
His play down the stretch, as was the case on Wednesday night, was strong.
Of his 14 points, eight came in the fourth quarter. And those seven rebounds included four in the final quarter of play.
Garnett's play was certainly a factor in Thursday night's game. Here are some additional keys to the game outlined earlier, and how they actually played out as the C's three game winning streak is over.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR: Nets coach Avery Johnson has the reputation of being a defensive-minded coach, and it's certainly looking that way early on with the Nets. One of the reasons they rank in the league's top 10 in fewest points allowed, is because of the way they defend 3-point shots. Simply put, nobody is doing it any better. Opponents are getting off just 16.5 3-point attempts per game which is the second-fewest in the league. Even more important? Brooklyn opponents are making a league-low 5.3 per game.
WHAT WE SAW: The Celtics became the latest team to struggle at getting 3-point shots off against the Nets. Boston connected on an impressive 53.8 percent of its 3s, but only took 13 (and made 7) for the game.
MATCHUP TO WATCH: Paul Pierce vs Keith Bogans: With Rondo (right ankle) questionable and Garnett potentially gassed after last night, Pierce has to dominate this matchup. Bogans is filling in for Gerald Wallace who suffered a left ankle sprain and has missed Brooklyn's last five games with the injury.
WHAT WE SAW: Pierce won this matchup easily with 22 points, seven rebounds and four assists. But it's the two points - or rather, two free throws - that Pierce will remember from this game. Trailing by 3 points with 34.5 seconds to play, Pierce's had two free throws rim in and out. From there, the C's never came any closer than two points.
PLAYER TO WATCH: For the potential highlight-worthy dunk is reason enough to keep an eye on Jeff Green. But he's starting to show more consistency in his play of late, especially on offense. He's coming off a season-high 16 points which played a pivotal role in Boston extending its winning streak to three straight following Wednesday's victory over Utah.
WHAT WE SAW: Green didn't get the kind of momentum-building game fans would have liked to have seen, but he did deliver a huge 3-pointer that cut Brooklyn's lead to just 93-92 with about 58 seconds to play. He finished with five points on 2-for-6 shooting along with six rebounds.
STAT TO TRACK: Getting into the paint early and often will once again be a chief objective for the Boston Celtics in tonight's game. More often than not, that leads to a nice run of free throws. This season, Boston ranks third and fourth in free throws made (20.5) and taken (25.8), respectively. Meanwhile, Boston faces a Brooklyn team team that has limited opponents to just 13.8 free throws made per game on 18 attempts which ranks second and third, respectively, in the NBA.
WHAT WE SAW: Boston was right on point with its free throws relative to the C's season average. Against the Nets, Boston was 20-for-25 from the line which is equal to their season averages in free throws made and attempted.