The Brooklyn Nets needed a big night from their bench after two of their own players and Rajon Rondo were ejected in a fight and they got it as they beat the Celtics 95-83 in Boston Wednesday night.
Joe Johnson led with 18 points, but it was Jerry Stackhouse and Andray Blatche who starred. Blatche had his first double-double of the season with 17 points and 13 rebounds while Stackhouse knocked down five three-pointers for 17 points.
THE BRAWL: It all started with just 39.8 seconds left in the first half. Kris Humphries hand his hand in Kevin Garnett‘s face and pushed him as he tried for a layup. Rajon Rondo reacted to this by pushing Humphries, who wasn’t paying attention to Rondo at the time because, at first, the play was more innocent than it now sounds. Humphries pushed back, Rondo pushed again and Hump fell backward. That was pretty much that. Meanwhile, Garnett gets up off the ground, he’s looking to fight someone, Gerald Wallace is nearby and gets into it with Garnett, they push each other. No punches were really thrown the entire time. The most egregious contact probably comes from Rondo’s initial shove of Humphries.
THE FALLOUT: Wallace and Garnett both get technicals for their shoving match. Wallace already had one from earlier in the game so he’s ejected. Meanwhile, Rondo and Humphries are both ejected. I don’t think it makes me too much of a homer to say that Humphries probably didn’t deserve to get ejected. Neither did Wallace, but he already had the technical. But Humphries really only got shoved and kind of just reacted and not even in a bad way. So if suspensions are handed out as a result of this don’t expect Humphries to get one.
THE GAME: The Nets were dominant early on. They were moving the ball around getting baskets from everybody, playing good defense, and taking advantage of mistakes. They finally got their chance to take on the Celtics with Rondo and they were taking advantage. Then the brawl breaks loose, Rondo is gone and so is Wallace and Humphries. So they start the second half and it’s an entirely different ball game, but they play strong defense in the third and kind of just trade off baskets with the Celtics in the fourth and cruise to a victory.
STACK SURGES: The Nets only got nine points from Brook Lopez, who was in foul trouble early and often, but Jerry Stackhouse stepped up in a big way shooting 5-of-6 behind the arc to finish with 17 points in just 22:27. He just had the hot hand going, parked himself in that corner that he loves so much, and launched three’s all night. The Celtics didn’t have an answer.
D-D FOR BLATCHE: Andray Blatche was critical for the Nets down the stretch. They actually lost the fourth quarter, but with the ease that Blatche was scoring they were just cruising all the way to the end. He finished with 17 points and 13 rebounds for his first double-double of the season.
CLUTCH JOE: Joe Johnson shot just 6-for-14, but he kept the game comfortable by shooting 3-for-6 behind the arc. All three baskets came at critcal times when the Celtics were really starting to cut into their lead and he just took the pressure right off.
RELYING ON STARTERS: After Wallace and Humphries were ejected and Lopez had gotten himself into foul trouble it seemed inevitable that Avery Johnson would have to turn to Josh Childress and/or MarShon Brooks off the bench, but neither got any action at all.
QUIET NIGHT: Deron Williams played a full 40 minutes, but was pretty quiet overall. He got his seven assists, but only had eight points after shooting just 3-for-12.
UP NEXT: The Nets get a day off and then they head down to Florida for back to back games. They start with the Magic, who they’ve already beaten twice this season, that’s on Friday and then they get their shot at revenge for an early beat down against the Heat on Saturday. They need to focus on not looking past the Magic on Friday and then hopefully ride the momentum to a win against LeBron James.