Good, bad, & ugly: Pierce comes off bench for Nets

Good, bad, & ugly: Pierce comes off bench for Nets
December 10, 2013, 11:45 pm
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BROOKLYN, N.Y. — Former Boston Celtic legend Paul Pierce has often talked about "giving the game what it needs."

In Boston, that usually meant points.

But with his new team in Brooklyn, Pierce has a different role that will likely change from one game to another.

On Tuesday, his first game back following a broken hand injury on Nov. 29, they didn't need him to score much.

And so he contributed in other ways which helped the Nets defeat his former team, 104-96.

Pierce finished with just four points, but had seven rebounds and three assists while playing just over 22 minutes.

He came off the bench which he said afterwards requires a "different mental approach to the game."

But in terms of his presence on the floor, that won't change.

"Off the bench, I hope to be a leader," he said.

When asked about doing the coming-off-the-bench thing going forward, he said, "I'll do whatever (to win)."

The same is true of the Celtics who continued to battle back against a Nets team, even when the game seemed all but over.

"We're a fighting team," said Boston's Avery Bradley who helped engineer a Celtics rally from 15-down in the fourth to just five with just under two minutes to play. "We still felt like we had a chance."

But on this day, that fight was not enough to escape with a victory.

And with that, we have the good, the bad and the ugly from Boston's loss to the Nets which snapped the Celtics' three-game winning streak.

The Good

Boston's 3-point shooting

If it wasn't for the 3-point shot, Boston may have been blown out by halftime. It is becoming a shot that they are steadily becoming more comfortable at taking and making. On Tuesday, Boston connected on 11 of its 22 3-point attempts.

Alan Anderson

The Nets elected to keep him in the starting lineup and have Pierce come off the bench. Judging by the way Anderson played and the end result - a victory which gave Brooklyn back-to-back wins for the first time this season, don't be surprised if Pierce continues to come off the bench moving forward. Anderson finished with 15 points along with four assists.

The Bad

Dribble penetration

It was an issue at times last season for the Celtics, and it was a major problem for them on Tuesday. Of course the return of Deron Williams was going to make this a bigger challenge for Boston. But he wasn't the only one finding his way into the lane with ease. Put that on the list of things Boston will have to clean up between now and Wednesday night's game against the Los Angeles Clippers.

The Ugly

Defending Brook Lopez

Lopez is one of the best centers in the NBA, but he dominated the Celtics unlike any big man we've seen all season. He finished with 24 points on 10-for-13 shooting, but could have easily had twice as many points if the Nets felt so inclined to keep feeding him in the post.  He even hurt them at times with his face-up game. "The obvious difference was Brook Lopez's size," said Boston head coach Brad Stevens.