Regular Season Series (Game 3 of 4)

Series starts 1/20

Game 1: Friday, January 20th
Game 2: Saturday, January 21st
Game 3: Friday, April 14th
Game 4: Sunday, April 16th

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

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

    Bos: 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


    Team Stat Comparison

    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
    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