Celtics Win Over Nets

Actor Timothy Hutton attends opening night of "night, Mother" at the Royale Theatre November 14, 2004 in New York City.
GETTY IMAGES/Paul Hawthorne

The game was up for grabs until Boston's "Bomb Squad" took over.

That's the name the Celtics' second unit gave itself, and four backups were on the floor when Boston pulled away in the fourth quarter Friday night for a 109-96 victory over the New Jersey Nets, whose 1-8 record is the worst in the NBA.

"Sometimes the first unit does the job. Sometimes the second unit does," substitute forward Tony Battie said. "Tonight the second unit came up big."

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  • The Nets had cut a 59-44 deficit to 82-77 when Jamie Feick made a free throw with 11:08 left. Then Adrian Griffin, the only Celtics starter in the game, began a 12-0 run with a 10-foot jumper.

    Battie and Doug Overton each had four points in the surge and Battie added three blocks.

    "You've always got to be ready to go in," said Overton, who has played in three games since the Celtics signed him Nov. 8 after he was cut by Philadelphia on Oct. 28. "We did a great job of getting stops and playing our style. Tony did a great job on the backline, blocking and altering shots, and then we got the ball and ran."

    Boston, off to its best start in six years with a 6-3 record, never trailed as Antoine Walker scored 25 points, Paul Pierce had 17 and Griffin finished with 16 points and 11 rebounds.

    New Jersey's Stephon Marbury, the NBA's No. 3 scorer after getting 35 points in a loss Wednesday night to Detroit, had 26. Keith Van Horn added 16 points and 13 rebounds.

    "It's frustrating to keep on losing the way we're losing," Marbuy said. "The defense wins games and we weren't getting back."

    Boston focused its defense on Marbury, who had 14 points in the third quarter. He was held to six in the fourth.

    "We just wanted to stay in, keep the pressure up and contain Stephon. We know he's a dangerous penetrator," Battie said.

    In the 12-point run, Battie's basket was followed by Overton's jumper. Eric Williams then hit a 13-footer, Overton sank another basket and Battie ended the run with two free throws as the Celtics took their biggest lead, 94-77, with 6:56 to go.

    They stayed in front by at least 10 points the rest of the way.

    "Coming from behind and making up points has been our style, but it doesn't always work," Nets coach Don Casey said. "We just had a hard time getting critical stops."

    The Celtics dominated inside, driving to the basket and converting offensive rebounds. They outscored the Nets in the paint, 54-40 and led 21-7 on second-chance points.

    "Offensively, they did what they wanted to do and that was the game," New Jersey guard Sherman Douglas said.

    The Celtics, leading 33-30, went on a 14-4 run to take a 47-34 lead with 2:04 left in the first half on Dana Barros' 3-pointer. Pierce led the spurt with five points.

    Boston went ahead 77-67 on Walker's layup with 3:33 left in the third quarter. But two free throws by Van Horn started a 9-4 run, highlighted by Douglas' first two field goals of the game, as New Jersey cut the lead to 81-76 after three quarters.

    Griffin and Feick traded free throws before the Celtics began their decisive 12-point run.


  • The Celtics are 5-1 when scoring more than 100 points.
  • They outrebounded the Nets 34-19 in the first half and 49-39 for the game. Boston had been averaging 43.1 rebounds in its first eight games.
  • Marbury went 4-for-4 on 3-pointers in the first seven minutes of the third quarter as the Nets cut a 59-44 deficit to 71-63.
  • New Jersey's Scott Burrell did not play after injuring his left knee in the second quarter and was scheduled to undergo an MRI exam. It was not known how long he would be sidelined.
  • The Nets' three-game winning streak at the FleetCenter ended.

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