Despite a hard fought effort, the New Jersey Nets lost their 10th game of the year against the Boston Celtics 89-83 at the TD Garden.
The story of the night was "The Diesel." Shaquille O'Neal scored the most points he has ever scored as a member of the Celtics. He knocked in 25 points on 9-of-10 from the field and 7-of-13 from the free throw line. He also pulled down 11 rebounds for the double-double.
Shaq set the tone early, scoring the first six points for the Celtics, but the Nets went on a 12-0 run starting late in the first quarter. The run later became 20-8, as Johan Petro drained some outside jumpers.
The Nets shot 79 percent from the field in the second quarter and scored 29 points to take a 46-38 lead at the half. Anthony Morrow had a hot hand from the outside scoring 11 points, while Devin Harris and Brook Lopez each added 10 points.
Both teams looked sloppy opening the second half. The Nets struggled with turnovers. Ray Allen and Paul Pierce were struggling from the field, but the Nets could not pull away.
Shaq remained strong, however, which kept Boston in the game. The Celtics tied the game at 59, but trailed by two heading into the fourth quarter.
Boston took the lead on a beautifully executed alley-oop from Allen to O'Neal, as part of an 11-4 Celtics run. Harris was able to cut to the lead to one, but a few clutch baskets from Paul Pierce saw Boston go back up by nine.
Harris, once again, closed the lead after scoring five straight points.
But, a big three from Nate Robinson and a two-handed tomahawk slam from Kevin Garnett sealed the Boston win.
The Nets had some chances late, but could not capitalize on open shots. They only mustered 20 points in the fourth quarter.
Kris Humphries pulled down 10 rebounds in a losing effort.
Ignoring the turnovers, this was another strong effort from this resilient Nets team. But at 5-10, some of these close losses need to start turning into wins.
The Nets have now lost 14-of-16 against the Celtics. They will play three more times this season.
To all readers, have a Happy Thanksgiving!