That just happened.
After jumping out to a 12-2 lead early in the first quarter, the Nets called a timeout to stop the bleeding. Devin Harris scored nine points and Courtney Lee added five within the next four minutes and the Nets were able to tie the game up at 18. They took a two point lead into the second quarter and the Celtics never recaptured the lead for the remainder of the game.
A late surge in the fourth quarter after the Celtics trailed by as many as 18 points got the fans back into the game, but the rally fell short. The effort shown in the late stages of the fourth was what fans were looking for all game, but saw none of.
This is yet another disappointing loss at the TD Garden, a place where the only thing growing is frustration. The Celtics have now lost 11 games at home this season, giving teams the confidence they need to believe they can win here.
"That's what we talked about coming out of the road trip, that we wanted to come back and sustain home court advantage and take advantage of playing at home," said a discouraged Rajon Rondo after the game. "Not right now, guys are coming in thinking they can win at the Garden, and last year it was totally opposite."
With the losses piling up, fans are starting to point fingers at coaching and management decisions, but it ultimately falls on the players who aren't doing enough on the court.
"You lose, you lose," Kevin Garnett said bluntly. "They kicked our asses tonight, period- point blank. Players have to do more, including myself, we all have to dig deep and see what we're made of as a team."
"I think sometimes we don't respect guys like we should," admitted Kendrick Perkins. "We give them an open shot, uncontested. I just feel like we need to take more pride in the defensive end than we do in the offensive end."
Asked whether or not this game was a wake up call for the Celtics, Perkins said, "How many wake up calls are we going to get? We got a lot of them to be honest with you."
The Celtics shot 50% from the field today hitting ten more shots than the Nets in the process, but only went 9-11 from the free throw line. The Nets shot below 45% but got to the line 41 times- hitting 34 of those attempts. With Paul Pierce out of the lineup, the Celtics failed to be aggressive in attacking the hoop, and it proved to be their downfall.
"I felt as though at some points in the game they had more energy than us and it looked like they just wanted it more than we did at certain points in the game," said Rasheed Wallace. "I think we only have like 25 or 24 games left, so to have a lot of uncertainty at this point it definitely has to raise a couple of our flags a little bit and we just have to knuckle down."
Lost in the disappointment of this loss was the encouraging play of Kevin Garnett. Garnett shot 12-16 for 26 points and grabbed nine rebounds on the night. Still, the Celtics would like to get him more shots. During the Celtics' championship season, Garnett averaged 14 shots per game. This season he is averaging just 11.
"Kevin is so 100% about the team, he's always thinking ball movement early. And one of the things we told him, ‘We are moving it- to you. And we want you to look at it.' And I thought he did a great job of that early on. And then I thought he went a long stretch without touching it, and that's on us."
The Celtics will not hold practice tomorrow, but will practice on Monday. They will then travel to Detroit to play the Pistons Tuesday night. They lost to Detroit the only other time they played them this season back on January 20th.