BOSTON, Mass. (WGGB) — Kevin Garnett’s steal and layup with 17.9 seconds remaining helped the Nets seal an 85-79 victory over the Celtics in both he and Paul Pierce’s first trip to Boston since being traded to Brooklyn last June.
Pierce, a fifteen-year Celtic and the second-leading scorer in franchise history, and Garnett, the defensive staple during a six-year span including five Atlantic Division titles, two Eastern Conferences championships and an NBA title in 2008, each received lengthy standing ovations and video tributes leaving many in attendance in tears.
Each of the two struggled considerably in their return but had a decisive say in the outcome. After missing eight of his first nine field goal attempts, Pierce’s jumper with 2:38 remaining put the Celtics on top 78-70. He finished with six points on 2-10 shooting.
Celtics guard Rajon Rondo would help spark a late rally after connecting on a three-pointer cutting the deficit to 80-77 with 1:03 on the clock. After a Joe Johnson missed shot on the ensuing possession, Garnett thwarted the Celtics’ rally attempt with the steal and layup, putting the game out of reach.
Garnett finished with six points and three rebounds. Rondo ended the evening with a 13 points, eight rebounds and eight assists line in 30 minutes, the most since returning from his torn ACL.