The Nets edged the Celtics in a back-and-forth battle, 102-97, on Thursday night.
Joe Johnson nailed a couple of key jumpers down the stretch, and Brook Lopez followed one of his misses up with a layup to give Brooklyn the 93-87 lead with under two minutes to play. Jeff Green then responded by drilling a three-pointer, cutting the Nets' lead to 93-92 with less than a minute to go. Then, with Brooklyn leading 95-92, Paul Pierce missed a pair of free throws and Johnson connected on a pair on the other end to stretch the lead to five. The game ended with the teams largely trading free throw attempts until the clock ran out.
Johnson finished with 19 points on 6-of-19 shooting from the floor, while Deron Williams added 24 points and eight assists.
For the Celtics, Pierce scored a team-high 22 points on 8-of-12 shooting from the field and added seven rebounds. Leandro Barbosa added 17 points.
The Nets led 59-50 at halftime, as four of Brooklyn's starters (Kris Humphries, Lopez, Williams and Johnson) all scored 10 points apiece, while the team as a whole shot 45.8 percent from the field for the half. Boston got solid minutes from Jason Terry and Barbosa, who were starting in the backcourt with point guard Rajon Rondo sidelined by an injury.
Brooklyn went cold in third quarter, however, scoring only 15 points as the Celtics put up 29 of their own to take a 79-74 lead into the final quarter.