There may not be too much Christmas spirit on display in the
first of five NBA games on this holiday.
There were three ejections the last time the Brooklyn Nets faced
the Boston Celtics, and they meet again Tuesday at the Barclays
Boston (13-13) enters on a five-game road skid and has lost both
matchups with Brooklyn (14-12) this season.
The Nets won 95-83 in Boston on Nov. 28 in a game that featured
plenty of drama.
Brooklyn forward Kris Humphries fouled Kevin Garnett in the
second quarter, and Rajon Rondo retaliated with a two-handed shove
that sent Humphries into the courtside seats before the Nets’
Gerald Wallace shoved Garnett.
Humphries and Wallace each received two technicals while Rondo
was ejected as his streak of games with double-digit assists ended
at 37. Rondo was later suspended two games by the NBA, although he
said he was coming to the aid of Garnett.
“I don’t know how much bad blood is still there,” Nets guard
Deron Williams said Monday. “We beat them twice this year. I know
they’re aware of that and they’ll come in ready to play.”
Garnett and Boston coach Doc Rivers blamed Humphries for the
incident. The Nets, unsurprisingly, defended their forward.
“I really could care less of what the Celtics say about Kris,”
Brooklyn general manager Billy King said. “I just know what he does
Humphries may not do much for the Nets on Tuesday since he did
not play for the first time all season in Sunday’s 95-92 victory
over Philadelphia due to his ineffectiveness. Keith Bogans moved
into the starting lineup.
“He’s worked hard, I’ve gone to bat for him in a lot of
different situations since day one,” coach Avery Johnson said about
Humphries. “I just think it’s a tough situation for him so it
wasn’t like he was jumping up giving me a hug and he was really
excited about it.”
The Nets won for the third time in 11 games as Joe Johnson’s 22
points led six Brooklyn players in double figures. Williams scored
16 points and Bogans justified Avery Johnson’s move with a
season-high 13 on 5-of-6 shooting.
“We definitely needed it,” Williams said. “We just needed to get
back in the winning track, especially in our building. It was good
for us tonight.”
Boston will start a four-game trip by trying to avoid its first
six-game road slide within a single regular season since before
Garnett joined the team in 2007. The Celtics have dropped four of
five overall following Friday’s 99-94 overtime loss to
“Maybe this could be that road trip that gets us back going,”
top scorer Paul Pierce said. “That’s when teams can go one
direction or the other so we’re going to learn a lot about
ourselves on this road trip.”
Pierce is averaging 37.5 points on 66.7 percent shooting in his
last two games.
“I think right now, it’s this point in the season where I’m in a
good groove,” he said. “I’m feeling good about my shot. I’m feeling
good about my pace of the game. I’m just trying to do what I can to
help this ball club win.”
Garnett probably isn’t feeling as good after he made six shots
on a season-high 22 attempts for 12 points Friday.
“Right now the priority is Brooklyn so we’re getting ready for
Christmas,” Garnett said.
The Celtics are 11-17 all-time on Dec. 25 while the Nets are