Celtics bench beats Nets

April 16, 2008 7:25:21 PM PDT
Second-stringer Leon Powe scored a career-high 27 points, adding 11 rebounds for his sixth career double-double, and the Boston bench helped beat the New Jersey Nets 105-94 Wednesday night while the Celtics starters took it easy in their final tune-up before the playoffs.Tony Allen scored 18 for Boston, which finished 66-16 for the best record in the NBA. The Celtics will play Atlanta, the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference, in the first round of the postseason.

Richard Jefferson scored 24 points, and Nenad Krstic scored 13 with a season-high 12 rebounds. The Nets ended up 34-48, missing the playoffs for first time since 2001.

The game had the feel of a typical late-season Celtics game: nothing on the line, and not much to speak of on the floor. But this time the Celtics had talent - they just chose not to use it, instead resting their Big Three for the playoffs.

Kevin Garnett scored eight points in 14 minutes, Paul Pierce scored seven in 17 and Ray Allen had three in 18. The starters played most of the first and third quarters and sat out all of the second and fourth quarters.

Starting point guard Rajon Rondo got the night off.

The Celtics pulled out to their typical early lead, scoring 17 of the first 21 points, and they led by 10 when the substitutes began entering the game. Coach Doc Rivers went with his bench for the end of the first and the whole second quarters, which ended with Boston leading 53-47.

Garnett & Co. came back out for a cameo in the third quarter, and they were out there for most of the 17-4 run that allowed New Jersey to turn a six-point deficit into a 71-64 lead. Boston's bench scored the last 11 points of the third, getting a jumper from Glen Davis and a 3-pointer from Eddie House in the final seconds to regain the lead.