Celtics cut down Nets, 94-82

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Celtics cut down Nets, 94-82

NEWARK, N.J. For the second time in as many nights, the Boston Celtics were a bit late in ratcheting up their play defensively.

But the outcome was a far different one on Saturday night, as the C's pulled away with a strong third quarter surge for a 94-82 win.

Boston's frontcourt of Paul Pierce (17 points), Brandon Bass (18 points, 11 rebounds) and Kevin Garnett (21 points, 12 rebounds) all had big games for the Celtics.

But this game, like so many this season, turned in the C's favor because of strong play defensively.

After allowing the Nets to shoot better than 50 percent in the first half, the Celtics clamped down and limited New Jersey to just 24 percent shooting in the third as the C's doubled up the Nets, 26-13.

Boston began the third quarter with a 9-0 run and finished it with a 7-4 surge to lead, 74-61 going into the fourth.

In between those runs, the Celtics got a huge lift from Avery Bradley who scored 11 of Boston's 26 third-quarter points. He finished with 18 points on 7-for-14 shooting along with four rebounds.

Setting up many of Bradley's points was Rajon Rondo, who delivered yet another strong game passing the ball with 14 assists which extended his franchise record 21st straight game with double-digit assists.

New Jersey was led by Deron Williams' 12 points and 14 assists, in addition to former Celtic guard Gerald Green chipping in 15 points of the bench.

The fourth quarter was more of the same as Boston (35-25) bounced back from a disappointing loss at Toronto on Friday night.

In that loss, Boston never at any point in the game established their defensive identity, which more often than not positions them for success.

That was not the case on Saturday, with the Celtics delivering the kind of physical, in-your-face brand of basketball that they'll need to have come playoff time later this month. For most of the game, Boston was the more aggressive team, the one making all the tough plays around the basket and on the perimeter, which put the Nets on their heels and eventually, flat on their backs.

But the C's have no time to kick back and relax, not with a third game in as many nights at Charlotte on Sunday.

Mayock: If I'm Cleveland, I'd be 'stoked' land Garoppolo for No. 12 pick

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Mayock: If I'm Cleveland, I'd be 'stoked' land Garoppolo for No. 12 pick

NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock quarterbacked a marathon conference call with reporters around the country about the upcoming draft class, and his perspective on this year's quarterback crop makes Patriots backup Jimmy Garoppolo look like a top option for a quarterback-needy team.

"In my opinion," Mayock said, "if I'm the Cleveland Browns and I've got No. 1 and No. 12, if I came away with either [defensive end Myles] Garrett or [defensive tackle] Jonathan Allen at No. 1, and gave up the 12th pick in the draft to get Garoppolo? I would be stoked.

"I would feel like I had a difference-maker on defense and we had a quarterback on offense. Now let's get to work. We got five in the first 65 picks. Let's get to work. From my perspective, especially looking at the quarterbacks this year, if they gave up No. 12 and could get Garoppolo, I'd be all over that."

More to come . . .

 

Haggerty's Morning Skate: NHL teams aren't just making trades for themselves ahead of deadline

Haggerty's Morning Skate: NHL teams aren't just making trades for themselves ahead of deadline

Here are all the hockey links from around the world, and what I’m reading while feeling like Warren Beatty took the sneaky way out by handing that wrong Academy Award card to Faye Dunaway last night. Clearly he knew something was amiss and he let her step into it. Kind of a weasel move if you asked me.

-- An interesting letter from FOH (Friend of Haggs) James Mirtle about the pay wall involving The Athletic sports website in Toronto.

-- Dean Lombardi and the Los Angeles Kings dealing for Ben Bishop is about more than just an insurance policy for Jonathan Quick.

-- FOH Mike Halford has the Minnesota Wild going for it with their trade for Martin Hanzal, but also keeping him from the other teams in the West.

-- NHL commissioner Gary Bettman says the Penguins are in great shape after winning the Cup last spring, and it’s clear they’re in good hands after Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle opted not to sell the franchise.

-- Kyle Quincey is being held out of the lineup in New Jersey because of pending trades, and the wonder is who else in New Jersey might be getting dealt.

-- Gabriel Landeskog and his Colorado Avalanche teammates know the trade deadline is coming. It would certainly be weird if they didn’t.

-- The San Jose Sharks feel fortunate for the timing of their bye week as it was clear that they needed a break.

-- For something completely different: Gronk was busy doing Gronk things at the Daytona 500 over the weekend.