‘Net Zero’ had a whole new meaning in the first half of this contest.
That was the combined effort of the entire Net team in the first half.
First Half Demolition
The Celtics ran up a 30 plus point lead and went to the break more than doubling the Nets score at 71-35.
Rajon Rondo finished the game with more assists than the entire Net team (14-13), as the Celtics had their way with the Nyets.
Paul Pierce, who led all scorers with 24 points, made a three point jump shot to start the game and the Celtics never trailed as they destroyed the hapless Nets 111-87. It was never even that close. The lead was as high as 36 points. Pierce added 6 rebounds and 3 assists.
This game was so ‘in-the-bag’ that little used J.R. Giddens logged 16 minutes and the invisible man, Bill Walker, saw 6 minutes of daylight.
The Celtics simply got whatever they wanted.
Rajon Rondo continues his superior play, making his case for an All Star bid by continuing to direct the offense masterfully and with unselfish, smart play through out.
First Half Demolition
Ray Allen was a perfect 3-3 shooting with a three pointer and 4-4 from the free throw line for 11 half time points. He finished with 15 points in 25 minutes.
Glen Davis scored 11 points in 7 minutes off the bench in the first half, including corraling his own missed foul shot and hitting a jumper to amend the miss. Five Celtic players were in double figures by the break.
The Celtics shot .684 from the field and were 5 of 10 from the three point line. They were out rebounding the Nets by 25-13 and had 21 assists on 26 baskets.
Kendrick Perkins led the Celtics’ defensive effort with 3 first half blocks, finishing with 5 on the game. Perkins finished with 12 points on 6 of 9 shooting and 8 rebounds.
Play of the game (and NBA.com number play of the night)
Paul Pierce saw Tony Allen getting behind the defense and lofted an alley oop to a spot Allen came out of nowhere to collect and twist it into an authoritative slam, making the score 48-25. Tony finished with 11 points on 5 of 10 shooting, with 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals and 3 turnovers.
The Nets shot .306 in the first half on 11 of 36 attempts with 5 assists total.
This was as much of a contrast of two teams with opposite realities and destinies as you will see. The Celtics are all about right now. Even depleted of two of their best players (Kevin Garnett and Rasheed Wallace) and Rondo and Pierce playing with assorted bumps and bruises, they are focused on another run at the NBA title.
The Nets are young and inexperienced and trying to avoid NBA history for having the league’s worst record ever and get to next year when their financial prospects do a complete turnaround as the Russian Mark Cuban gallops in on his shining white horse with rubles aplenty. They will be a completely different club next year.
As bad as their now 3-35 season has gone, the Nets totally embarrassed themselves and the league with a first half performance that an intramural league crowd would be ashamed of watching. They didn’t compete in the least. It was truly a pathetic performance.
The blame should start with Kiki Vandeweghe, General Manager turned reluctant coach, for allowing that to occur. If it had continued through out the entire game I would calling for him to be fired and someone…anyone else to take over.
The second half was credible enough to withhold my fire, but not my disgust.
The Nets finally did come out and ‘at least’ compete in the second half, outscoring a Celtic combine that was in ‘conserve-the-lead-mode’ at that point. The Nets ‘won’ the second half 52-40 as the Cs rested the starters for all of the 4th period.
On the Celtics side, there were some nice performances by Giddens who score 6 points on 3 of 5 shooting. Those points included a highlight reel reverse dunk and Giddens grabbed 7 boards.
Bill Walker showed that individual offense is never a problem for him as he hit a jumper and drove for vicious dunks twice and scored 6 points with 2 boards and 2 assists in just 6 minutes.
Brian Salabrine started strong with 8 first quarter points on 3 of 6 shooting with 2 three pointers finding their mark. Brian finished with 11 points, 4 boards and 4 assists in 28 minutes. If you get a chance, go over to Celticsblog and check out Brian Scalabrine’s dance after a Bill Walker dunk. Hilarious! (It is near the end, you have to watch a few other plays first)
Davis managed to foul out but added 13 points and 4 offensive boards. Shelden Williams grabbed 6 boards in 17 plus minutes, but took just two shots, coming up empty.
Eddie House was off, ending up 1-9 shooting, but had 2 steals.
If anyone was left in Izod Center after half time to witness it, it would be a miracle. Getting home to watch High School Reunion on TVLand would be a compelling reason to dismiss them selves after such a first half travesty.
The Celtics came out and made 12 of 18 first quarter shots and they must have been completely surprised at how little resistance the Nets’ defenders gave them. The Nets pretended to defend and the Celtics had a field day sharing the ball and taking it to them. I’m sure that Celtic practices are harder.
The Celtics ended up with 56 points in the paint, as Brook Lopez stood alone trying to stop the swarming Green. He finished 4 blocks and 18 points. Yi Jianlian had 2 points at the half but added 17 garbage time points. In 33 plus minutes Yi grabbed just 3 rebounds and had no assists. Yi has just 6 assists in 12 games this season.
Devin Harris had one point and was 0-6 at the half, while Rajon Rondo had 10 assists and 7 points on 3 of 4 shooting. Rondo’s plus/minus was +32…at the half. Harris? His was –36 at the half.
Harris has been plagued by tendinitis in his shooting arm all year and a shift from a pick and roll offense to an isolation and post up offense featuring the Nets shining new center Brook Lopez. Rumors are that even Harris, previously untouchable, is now available for the right trade.
Boston is now 27-10 overall, but just 6-5 with at least one starter out.
The Celtics get no rest as they come home to play the Chicago Bulls tonight at 7:30.