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Nets top Rondo-less Celtics, 102-97
BROOKLYN, N.Y. - Deron Williams and Brook Lopez each scored 24 points as host Brooklyn rallied for its fourth straight win, 102-97, over the Boston Celtics on Thursday.
Williams hit six free throws in the final 43 seconds to secure the win for the Nets, who squandered a 12-point lead in the third quarter.
Paul Pierce led Boston with 22 points, but missed two crucial free throws down the stretch as Boston's three-game winning streak ended. Leandro Barbosa added 17 for the Celtics, who were playing without Rajon Rondo. The Celtics point guard, who is averaging 14.3 points and 12.6 assists, missed the game with a sprained right ankle.
The Nets trailed 85-80, but outscored the Celtics 22-12 in the final 7:57. Joe Johnson hit two jumpers and Lopez put in a Johnson miss to give Brooklyn a 93-87 lead with 1:45 remaining.
Boston was sparked by a 20-2 run in the third quarter after Brooklyn built a 69-57 lead. The Celtics scored 12 straight points to tie the game and Pierce's jumper at the 3:49 mark gave Boston its first lead, 73-71. The Celtics held the lead until Jerry Stackhouse's 3-pointer tied the game at 85 with 6:19 remaining.
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GAME NOTEBOOK: Rondo, who has reached double figures in assists in 32 straight games, was injured Wednesday against Utah. ... Nets F Gerald Wallace missed the game with an ankle injury. He hasn't played since the season opener. ... Boston is 30th in the league in rebounding. Brooklyn had 15 offensive rebounds in the first half.
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