BOSTON (AP) - The Boston Celtics' starters finished their tuneup by turning it on to get past the New Jersey Nets. Now, they can set their sights on that much-anticipated opener against LeBron James and the Miami Heat.
Ray Allen scored all 14 of his points in Boston's big third quarter as the Celtics closed their preseason with a 107-92 win over the Nets on Wednesday night.
Paul Pierce finished with 17 points and the Celtics took control by outscoring the Nets 36-16 in the third.
``We knew that wasn't our brand of basketball, the way we came out to start the game,' Pierce said. ``We just wanted to establish ourselves.'
Kevin Garnett and Glen Davis each scored 14 points. Shaquille O'Neal had 12 and nine rebounds for Boston, which completed the preseason 7-1.
Derrick Favors led the Nets with 16 points and Anthony Marrow had 13. New Jersey closed its preseason 3-5.
The Celtics outscored New Jersey, 59-37, in the second half.
Boston coach Doc Rivers watched the game from the locker room to rest his voice, three days after a throat biopsy that came back negative. Assistant Lawrence Frank, fired by the Nets last November, ran the team.
Trailing by seven at halftime, it was as if the Celtics starters had something to prove in their final game before the regular season starts next week.
``Let's face it: We've got a very, very talented group,' Frank said. ``We decided to turn it around.'
The Celtics' starters outscored the Nets 27-12, collecting a number of fastbreak baskets, until they went to the bench. They opened the quarter by outscoring New Jersey 21-10 to grab their first lead, 69-65, since early in the opening quarter.
Allen also had pair of 3-pointers in the third.
``The game's going to come,' Allen said. ``When the game comes you've got to ride the wave.'
The Nets led 55-48 at halftime.
``Our first half here was incredible,' Nets guard Jordan Farmar said. ``We played a great half of basketball. (It's) just about putting that together for a whole game.'
The Celtics open the season with a marquee matchup against the Heat at TD Garden on Tuesday night. The Heat also added Chris Bosh to go along with Dwyane Wade, forming their own ``Big Three.'
Boston returns Garnett, Pierce and Allen for the third season - a group dubbed ``The New Big Three' when they were brought together for the 2007-08 season, when the Celtics won their 17th NBA title.
``I think we feel like we've got a legitimate shot (to win a title),' Shaq said. ``Paul wants one more. ... I want one more. We've got the same motivation.'
Rivers said before the game that he didn't know how much to expect from center Jermaine O'Neal, who missed his second straight game with a hand injury. He also missed the first two games with a strained left hamstring.
``There is some concern of opening night and what he can do for us,' Rivers said.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
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