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Brook Lopez leads Nets past Celtics

By Jim Hague, The Sports Xchange
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Brook Lopez leads Nets past Celtics
Brooklyn Nets Brook Lopez leaps for a rebound in the first half against the Boston Celtics at Barclays Center in New York City on November 22, 2015. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

NEW YORK -- To a man, the Brooklyn Nets took it to heart Friday night when the Boston Celtics routed them, 120-95, in Boston.

"We put a lot of that on ourselves," said center Brook Lopez, who continued his fine play with 23 points and 10 rebounds, leading the Nets to a 111-101 victory over the Boston Celtics Sunday night at the Barclays Center. "We knew that we had to bounce back. The schedule worked out well for us that we got a chance to get them again right afterwards. It was huge for us to bounce back like that."

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The Nets (3-11) got a solid game from Joe Johnson, who scored 10 of his 17 points in a decisive second quarter.

"We got embarrassed in Boston, no question," Johnson said. "We wanted to come home and take care of our house. Friday night was just a bad effort on our part as players."

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Guard Jarrett Jack agreed.

"If we didn't think we took that loss personal, then I'd be lying," said Jack, who added 22 points, including three clutch baskets in the final four minutes en route to scoring 13 of his points in the final period. "We came out full heart and had the momentum to start. It was a total team effort. We showed some resilience down the stretch and got the win."

Just as on Friday night, when the Celtics earned their lopsided 25-point victory, Sunday's game was decided in the second quarter. The Nets totally reversed their fortune, outscoring the Celtics 35-23. On Friday, the Nets were outscored 43-23 in the second.

Other than Lopez, Jack and Johnson, the Nets got 12 points from reserve forward Andrea Bargnani, 10 coming in the second period. Forward Thaddeus Young added 11 points and a game-high 12 rebounds for the winners.

The Celtics (7-6) received 27 points each from guards Avery Bradley and Isaiah Thomas. Guard Evan Turner added 13 off the bench for Boston.

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After the Nets gained a 24-19 lead to close out the first period, they became unstoppable in the second, posting two 10-0 runs.

The first 10-point surge, capped by a slam dunk by reserve forward Thomas Robinson off an alley-oop pass from guard Shane Larkin, gave Brooklyn a 37-27 lead with 7:23 left in the second period.

The second 10-0 stretch featured two long 3-pointers from Johnson and was capped by an 18-foot jumper from Bargnani, pushing the lead to 51-35 with 2:22 left before halftime.

Brooklyn shot 67 percent (14-of-21) from the floor in the second period. Ten Nets scored at least three points in the first half.

"We took the fight to them early and didn't turn the ball over," Nets head coach Lionel Hollins said. "The bench came in the second quarter and extended the lead. I always thought the last game was an aberration and they proved me right. We had to come out, play and compete. If you suffer a bad loss, you come home, look in the mirror and know you have to come out and play better."

The Nets led 59-42 at halftime, then pushed the lead to 20 in the early stages of the third. It marked the first time this season that Brooklyn led by as many as 20 in any game.

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Bradley drained two long treys in the closing minute of the third quarter, as Boston cut the lead to 86-76 with 53 seconds left. Forward Tyler Zeller made a lane jumper to slice the lead to 86-78 entering the fourth quarter.

Bradley made a steal and acrobatic jumper off glass that cut the lead to 88-82 with 10:28 remaining.

The Nets then held off a late run from the Celtics to secure their third win of the season, an important result with tough road games against the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Cleveland Cavaliers up next.

"It was a sweet victory," Hollins said. "I thought our guys played extremely well. We did some good things and came away with the win."

NOTES: Celtics G Avery Bradley, who scored 27 points, was averaging 20 points per game over the previous seven meetings with Brooklyn. ... Celtics G Marcus Smart missed the game with a lower left leg injury. The second-year player out of Oklahoma State missed three games last week with a toe injury. ... Celtics G Evan Turner, who is averaging 8.8 points per game, said that his current knee injury is "no big deal" and he will continue to play through it. Turner had 13 points for the Celtics. ... Nets GM Billy King has kept a tight lip with his team's beat writers since the start of the season, but he was quoted yesterday as "going for broke," when he traded all of the team's first-round draft picks in a deal to get Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry three years ago. The Celtics now own the Nets' first-round pick this year, even if it falls to lottery status.

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