Final

Regular Season Series (Game 3 of 4)

Series starts 1/20

Game 1: Friday, January 20th
Nets96Final
Celtics99
Game 2: Saturday, January 21st
Celtics83Final
Nets103
Game 3: Friday, April 14th
Nets79Final
Celtics74
Game 4: Sunday, April 16th
Celtics93Final
Nets95

Nets 79

(48-31, 20-20 away)

Celtics 74

(32-47, 20-19 home)

7:30 PM ET, April 14, 2006

TD Garden, Boston, MA

1 2 3 4 T
NJ 14 11 30 2479
BOS 18 15 20 2174

Top Performers

New Jersey: C. Robinson 14 Pts, 8 Reb, 1 Ast, 1 Stl

Boston: R. Gomes 17 Pts, 14 Reb, 2 Ast

Nets defense clamps down on Celtics for win

BOSTON (AP) -- After a dismal shooting first half, the New Jersey Nets looked like they were headed to their fourth loss in five games.

"We couldn't hit a shot [in the first half]," said Nets forward Richard Jefferson, who made five free throws down the stretch to pace the Nets to a 79-74 victory over the Boston Celtics on Friday night.

"Fortunately we were still playing some pretty good defense so we had a chance in that second half to come back."

Jefferson, who scored 12 points, extended the Nets' one-point lead to 75-69 with 1:30 left by converting five of six foul shots.

New Jersey held Boston to 38 percent shooting (26-for-68).

Vince Carter led the Nets with 15 points, but was only 4-for-16 from the field. Carter had scored 20 or more points in 23 straight games.

Nenad Krstic had 10 points and 11 rebounds. Cliff Robinson added 14 points, including a 3-pointer with 23 seconds left that gave the Nets a 78-71 lead.

"It's so important to stay in rhythm," said Nets head coach Lawrence Frank. "If that was our first playoff game, that would have been very concerning."

Both teams struggled offensively throughout the game in fact the 58 points scored in the first half was the lowest scoring first half in the NBA this season.

New Jersey, which trailed 33-25 at half and by as many as 11 points, took its first lead of the second half with 38 seconds left in the third quarter. Jefferson converted one of two free throws and Robinson tipped in the miss, giving the Nets a 55-52 lead.

"We felt it was a game we could have won," said Celtics guard Paul Pierce, who led all scorers with 22 points on 5-for-16 shooting.

"Neither team really had control of the game. We just shot ourselves in the foot down the stretch. "

Ryan Gomes added 17 points and 14 rebounds for the Celtics (32-48). Gomes had only four points and two rebounds in the second half.

Tony Allen added 11 points for the Celtics, who have lost three in a row and who are 2-5 in April.

Game notes


Legendary Celtics head coach Red Auerbach was on hand to present Pierce with the first annual Red Auerbach Award, awarded to the player who best exemplifies what it means to be a Celtic. Auerbach watched the game courtside from a wheelchair. ... Carter trails Bernard King on the all-time Nets single-season scoring mark. He needs 28 points to break the mark, which King set with 1,909 points during the 1977-78 season.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
NJ
BOS
Points 79 74
FGM-FGA 29-74 (.392) 26-68 (.382)
3PM-3PA 3-20 (.150) 1-12 (.083)
FTM-FTA 18-26 (.692) 21-36 (.583)
Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 8-44 9-46
Assists 22 14
Turnovers 16 17
Steals 7 11
Blocks 2 1
Fast Break Points 8 10
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 25 (1/0) 22 (1/0)
Largest Lead 7 11

Top Performers

New Jersey
Boston
Clifford Robinson Robinson
Points: 14
Reb: 8
Ast: 1
Stl: 1
Blk: 0
Ryan Gomes Gomes
Points: 17
Reb: 14
Ast: 2
Stl: 0
Blk: 0