By TOM CANAVAN, Associated Press
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Avery Bradley hit three straight 3-pointers and scored 11 of his 18 points in a game-deciding third quarter as the surging Boston Celtics defeated the New Jersey Nets 94-82 Saturday night.
Kevin Garnett had 21 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Celtics, who have won 10 of 13, and 20 of 28 to take over first place in the Atlantic Division.
Rajon Rondo added 15 assists, Brandon Bass had 18 points and Paul Pierce 17 for Boston, which limited New Jersey to 34 second-half points in beating the Nets for the third time in three games this season.
Gerald Green had 15 points to lead New Jersey, while rookie Jordan Williams had 12 points and career-best 14 rebounds in recording his first double-double.
Deron Williams had 12 points and 14 assists for the Nets, who had won six of their last nine in their best run of the season. MarShon Brooks added 13 points.
New Jersey was in position to add another win after tying the game at 48-all on a buzzer beater by Green at halftime.
The second half, however, was all Boston, much to the delight of the many green-clad fans in the sellout crowd of 18,711.
The third quarter decided the game with the Celtics outscoring New Jersey 26-13. Bradley was the catalyst in a late 13-4 spurt in which he hit three straight 3s from the right corner, inches from the Nets' bench.
New Jersey made 6 of 25 shots in the third quarter and didn't do much better in the fourth, scoring one basket in the opening 4 minutes as the Celtics led by 17 points.
NOTES: The Nets weren't thrilled with the officiating and Deron Williams and Avery Johnson were both whistled for technical fouls. ... Jets coach Rex Ryan sat at courtside and got his share of boos from the many Celtics fans. ... Grammy-award winning singer-songwriter John Legend also was on hand, and got more cheers than Ryan. ... Celtics veteran G Ray Allen missed his third straight game with soreness and swelling in his right ankle. Coach Doc Rivers said he will not play in Charlotte on Sunday and is 50-50 for the game in New York on Tuesday.