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Celtics Take OT Win Against the Jazz, Nets Look to Snap Losing Streak Against Hornets

On Monday, the Boston Celtics (30-27) defeated the Utah Jazz (31-26) 110-10 in overtime. Veteran Paul Pierce led in scoring with 26 points; seven straight ones came in the extra time. Fellow oldie Kevin Garnett, who refused to be pulled out by his coach Doc Rivers in OT, proved his point and had four points (2 for 2 shooting) with three rebounds.

For the night, the player had 13 points, 10 rebounds, one blocked shot and a steal.

Contributing to the win was Avery Bradley with his season-high 18 points (8 for 12 shooting).

For a team that many thought would fall apart with the absence of team leader Rajon Rondo, the troops have rallied and now sit in the third spot for the Atlantic Division (five games back) and No. 7 in the Eastern Conference.

Monday’s game represented the end of a long west coast road trip for the Celtics, where they went 2-3 in a seven-day period.

Celtics Paul Pierce

Pierce said of Monday’s win via CBS Sports, “We knew this was probably going to be the toughest game for us physically and mentally. Talking about a long road trip, coming in to one of the toughest places to play. We felt we could salvage this trip with a win here. So guys did a good job of just being mentally tough, digging in and doing what we had to do to get the win.”

Looking ahead for the team’s final two months, Rivers recently said while the team is approaching a fifth seed, he’ll focus on resting his players.

On Friday, the Celtics will host Golden State. They still have a ways to go to win it all in June with their 22 to 1 odds to do so.

In the short-term, the Brooklyn Nets (33-24) will play the New Orleans Hornets (20-37) on Tuesday. The Nets have lost two consecutive games and sit two games behind the division leaders, the New York Knicks (33-20).

Can they snap their losing streak and pull further ahead of the Celtics?

Brooklyn vs. New Orleans

For Tuesday’s game, the Nets are hoping some of their seasoned players will return to action.

First is Joe Johnson who’s been out for two games with plantar fasciitis in his left foot.

He holds an interesting league best: 23 points (7 for 8 shooting) in the final 24 seconds of a last quarter with a game within three points. Johnson is also the team’s second-best scorer  with 17.0 ppg.

He is a game-time decision.

Should he miss another game, C.J. Watson will again pinch hit. In his last five games, he’s averaged 16.2 points with 15 for 24 shooting for 3-pointers.

Nets Deron Williams

Then there”s Deron Williams. who was the team’s leading scorer in Sunday’s game (24 points). On Monday he practiced wearing a compression sleeve after getting kicked in the calf but should play on Tuesday.

Brook Lopez got benched in the fourth quarter on Sunday. He is the team’s top scorer (18.7 ppg) but was very off again: shooting 3 for 10 with nine points. Enter backup Andray Blatche to take his place.

The Nets don’t play well in the Big Easy: losing four consecutive games and seven of nine overall for this series. But they have won their last three of four road games on a 88.3 point average (38.4 percent shooting).

The Hornets also dealing with some injured players. Anthony Davis has recently struggled with a knee problem but did play on Sunday. He led the team in scoring (20 points) and eight rebounds in the team’s 110-95 win over the Sacramento Kings.

Ryan Anderson followed with 17 points.

David plays well at home and in his last four games there, he has as a 16.5 point average with 10.0 boards. His teammate Eric Gordon also likes the home court, scoring 20.0 per game in his last three games.

After averaging 87.8 points over their first 18 games at home, in their last nine the Hornets have increased to 100.1.

Look for more good play from the home team on Tuesday (-2.5, 185.5 o/u).

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