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Fast break: Celtics-Nets

11.07.09 at 9:56 pm ET
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This was a classic trap game for the Celtics. On the second day of a back-to-back and facing their eighth game in 12 days to open the season, this was an obvious letdown game for them on the calendar.

The Nets were also missing seven players due to a variety of injuries, including the swine flu for Chris Douglas-Roberts, and the Izod Center was half-empty. Add that all up and you have a recipe for a potential disaster.

The Celtics almost fell into the trap, but were able to put it together in the fourth quarter in an 86-76 victory, which gives them the best record in the NBA at 7-1.

Player of the game: Paul Pierce. Until the fourth quarter Pierce and Rajon Rondo were the only two Celtics doing anything offensively. Rondo was able to get his game going with steals on the defensive end, but Pierce got it done in the halfcourt. He also stepped in front of a rampaging Brook Lopez and took a charge.

It wasn’t a vintage Pierce game, but 16 points and seven assists looked pretty sweet in what was an otherwise ugly boxscore.

Turning point: The Celtics trailed by two points entering the fourth quarter and Pierce was on the bench with foul trouble. They needed someone to step up and make a shot and that someone was Brian Scalabrine, who knocked down two to give them a lead they never relinquished.

Scalabrine missed Friday night’s game with Phoenix because of back trouble, but the Celtics needed him to give it a go without Marquis Daniels (personal reasons) in the lineup.

* The Nets had just eight healthy players available for the game, which is the NBA minimum. They are without Courtney Lee, Devin Harris, Keyon Dolling, Jarvis Hayes, Yi Jianlin, Tony Battie and Chris Douglas-Roberts.

* With Daniels out, JR Giddens had a chance to play some meaningful minutes. Giddens lasted only two minutes before getting pulled.

* Ray Allen was on his way to another bad shooting night, but he turned it on in the fourth quarter making four straight shots.

* Rasheed Wallace missed all four of his 3-pointers and he is now 0-for-10 from distance in his last two games. But unlike Friday night’s game with Phoenix, he also went down into the post where he was able to operate effectively. He also came up with a handful of big defensive plays in the fourth quarter.

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