69 - 91 Final
  for this game

Celtics beat Nets, off to best start since 1972-73

Nov 15, 2007 - 4:29 AM BOSTON (Ticker) -- The Boston Celtics used their overlooked defense and a balanced scoring attack en route to their best start in 35 years.

Kevin Garnett scored 16 points and the Celtics forced the New Jersey Nets into abysmal shooting as they defeated their Atlantic division rival for the second time in less than a week, 91-69, on Wednesday.

"Defensively, I thought we were terrific all night except for the first four or five minutes of the game, and that's what kept us in this game," Boston coach Doc Rivers said.

Paul Pierce added 15 points as Boston had six players in double figures to improve to 7-0 for the first time since the 1972-73 season.

The "Big Three" of Garnett, Pierce and Ray Allen, who combined for 73 points in Boston's 112-101 win over New Jersey on Saturday, combined for a season-low 45 on Wednesday.

"Well, you know what happens is, when you have great players, the reason why they are called great is they make other guys better," New Jersey coach Lawrence Frank said. "They augment and they enhance the team, and that's why those guys are special."

However, the Celtics came into the game holding opponents to a league-best 39.7 percent shooting and forced the Nets into just 33 percent (24-of-72) from the field in this one.

"Defensively we were so active, we had so much intensity around the ball, they had to take tough shots," Allen said. "Everybody was rotating, everybody was all over the ball when they tried to make a move, we were all over them."

New Jersey also committed 20 turnovers as Boston came up with 15 steals.

Rajon Rondo and Tony Allen each scored 13 points for the Celtics, who outscored the Nets, 55-35, in the second half.

"It's good to know we have a solid bench and, if we're going to win, we're going to need a solid bench," Garnett said.

Pierce hit a jumper as time expired in the second quarter to give the Celtics their first lead of the first half at 36-34 at the break.

Boston used a 10-0 run that bridged the end of the third quarter into the beginning of the fourth to take control of the game at 68-54 with 10:18 to play.

Richard Jefferson scored 21 points and Jason Kidd had 19, nine rebounds and seven assists for the Nets, who have lost three games in a row.

"I think we were just pretty bad on offense," Kidd said. "But I thought all night we played pretty good defense, especially on the road where we gave ourselves a chance. We had some great looks, but they just didn't fall for us tonight."

New Jersey played for the second straight game without guard Vince Carter, who is out indefinitely with a sprained right ankle that he suffered in the Nets' loss to Boston on Saturday.