Celtics no match for Nets in 101-93 loss

Celtics no match for Nets in 101-93 loss
April 10, 2013, 10:30 pm
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BOSTON — For about five minutes, the Boston Celtics were a better team than the Brooklyn Nets.

But a poor finish to the first quarter would prove to be just the beginning of the Celtics' downfall, as the Nets took control and never looked back in handing the C's a 101-93 loss Wednesday night.

Paul Pierce scored 23 points to lead the Celtics, who came out knocking down a series of jumpers . . . which is usually a good thing. But that early shooting success led to them relying too heavily on their perimeter game, and on too many nights - like Wednesday night - that spells defeat.

No statistic tells how perimeter-dependent the Celtics were than their inability to get to the free-throw line.

How bad was it?

They came into the game averaging 23.7 free-throw attempts per game, which ranked seventh in the NBA. But Boston's first free-throw attempt Wednesday did not come until the 8:22 mark of the third quarter. For the game, they finished 13-for-17 from the line.

To go that long without getting to the line against a team as good as Brooklyn, put the C's in a hole that proved too difficult to escape.

They did fight back, trimming a 19-point deficit to single digits, but the Nets were able to push it back to a comfortable cushion.

Boston closed out the game with a 7-0 run, but like most of its success on Wednesday it was too little too late for it to mean anything of significance.

The Celtics' efforts were hurt in part by early foul trouble of Avery Bradley, who played just 12 minutes. And his absence certainly helped Deron Williams dominate play. Williams, who was horrible in Boston's Christmas Day win over the Nets, had a game-high 29 points and 12 assists Wednesday.