NEW YORK -- It took 21 games, but the Brooklyn Nets finally have their first winning streak of the season. In their first regular-season matchup against their former team, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce both had a hand in the Nets' 104-96 victory over the Boston Celtics Tuesday night at Barclays Center.
WHAT IT MEANS: The Nets (7-14) have won two games in a row -- and that's a big deal. Having Deron Williams back in the lineup certainly helped. Playing for the first time since Nov. 20, Williams (ankle) looked like he did the second half of last year, scoring a season-high 25 points, dishing out seven assists and shooting 10-for-16 from the field in 38 minutes. Brook Lopez went to work inside and dominated Boston's smaller frontcourt, finishing with 24 points. The Nets won the points in the paint battle, 48-30. They shot 55.7 percent overall and led by as many as 17.
THIRD'S THE WORD: The Nets led 56-47 at the break. But it was 60-all before they knew it. Normally, they fold in the third quarter. This time, they didn't, outscoring the Celtics, 25-12, the rest of the way and taking an 85-72 lead into the fourth. As he always does, Nets public address announcer David Diamante asked fans to stand at the beginning of the final stanza. And for the first time in a long time, they obliged.
NINTH TIME'S A CHARM: The Nets started their ninth different lineup this year -- Williams, Joe Johnson, Pierce, Garnett and Lopez -- and it proved to be quite effective. It's something head coach Jason Kidd might want to stick with. Pierce (hand), who came off the bench for just the fourth time in his career after missing the past five games, was mostly a facilitator, finishing with just four points on 0-for-3 shooting, seven rebounds and three assists in 22 minutes. Garnett contributed 11 points and nine rebounds in 26 minutes.
BOO THAT MAN: Former Net Kris Humphries was booed as he checked into the game. Kim Kardashian may haunt him forever. Gerald Wallace played a very limited role. Keith Bogans and MarShon Brooks did not play.
SORE LOSER? Wallace fouled Anderson hard with 33.7 seconds left. Anderson then threw the ball softly at Wallace, who tossed it back at Anderson. Wallace was hit with a technical foul, too.
IN THE CROWD: Sergey Kuschenko, owner Mikhail Prokhorov's top sports adviser, was spotted sitting courtside. Kuschenko also attended practice Monday, and is in the area for a meeting. Also, artists Ne-Yo and Fabolous.
UP NEXT: KG and Pierce face their former coach, Doc Rivers, and the Los Angeles Clippers Thursday night at home.