BOSTON -- Paul Pierce scored 25 points and Kevin Garnett backed up claims that his knee is just fine, adding 12 points and six rebounds in the Boston Celtics' 100-93 victory over the New Jersey Nets on Sunday
Garnett, who missed much of last season with a strained right knee, looked comfortable as he chased loose balls and drove to the basket early. He matched his preseason average of eight points with 3:18 to spare in the first quarter, and wound up playing 21 minutes.
Brook Lopez led the Nets with 21 points, and Yi Jianlin added 20 points and eight rebounds.
The teams traded the lead 10 times and combined for 26 fouls, but Boston opened a 13-point lead in the second half on strong shooting by Pierce and clutch 3-pointers by Eddie House.
The Nets pulled within three points in the closing seconds of the game, but Michael Sweetney made two free throws with 24 seconds left to seal the win.
The Celtics' Rasheed Wallace, still in his first week with the team, managed only four points on 1-for-6 shooting. That didn't discourage the Boston faithful, who shouted louder each time he entered the game than they did for each update on the Boston Red Sox, who were leading the Los Angeles Angels 6-4 at the final buzzer.
The Red Sox ended up losing 7-6 and were eliminated from the postseason.
Substitute referees filling in during a lockout of the regular officials blew their whistles often, calling 56 personal fouls, including one on Yi just 2 seconds into the game.
Lopez led his team with 13 first-half points, but he earned his fifth personal foul -- a loose-ball call that riled the Nets' bench -- with 9:16 remaining in the third quarter. He spent much of the second half on the bench.
The Celtics and Nets meet again Tuesday in New Jersey.
|New Jersey (0-3)||23||23||25||22||93|
|Boston (2-1) «||22||25||26||27||100|