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Thursday, February 17, 2011
Come on, you had to know the Boston Celtics wouldn't head into the All-Star break with a loss to the New Jersey Nets
The Boston Celtics went into the 2011 All-Star break with the best record in the Eastern Conference.
The Cs (40-14) dispatched of the New Jersey Nets (17-40) 94-80 last night at TD Garden in a game that was about as scattered as you'd expect given that Boston's four most important players are headed to Los Angeles this weekend for the All-Star game.
After just one point against the Heat on Sunday, Paul Pierce bounced back in a big way with a game-high 31 points while Kevin Garnett added 14 points and 10 rebounds and Ray Allen scored 12 points. Boston's other All Star Rajon Rondo had seven points, eight assists, five rebounds and three steals.
The Nets are still a mess and the on-going trade drama with Carmelo Anthony just gives a glimmer of hope to a terrible franchise. New Jersey has some pieces: Brook Lopez (18 points, four blocks), Devin Harris (16 points) and Anthony Morrow (14 points) but other than that, this Avery Johnson led team is devoid of any real talent.
Luke Harangody scored eight points while Von Wafer had seven points as Boston's bench had a good game (25 points) though they continue to be shorthanded. The NBA trade deadline is a week from today so it'll be interesting to see if Danny Ainge thinks this team needs another body or two for the stretch run (final 28 games) and playoffs.
Boston was up 27-22 after the first quarter but New Jersey came back to tie it at 47 at halftime. It was still tied (71-71) after three quarters but the Celtics clamped down in the fourth (24-10) to get out of town in a good frame of mind.
Pierce and Allen face-off in the 3-point contest on Saturday night then the Big Four will be coached by Doc Rivers on the Eastern Conference All-Star team on Sunday. Should be a fun weekend, the NBA's All-Star weekend is usually entertaining and LA seems like the perfect venue for this fluff.
We'll next see the full team together next Tuesday as they begin a West Coast trip at Golden State.