Nets beat Rondo-less Celtics, 102-97

Craving a victory over a top team, all the Brooklyn Nets needed was someone to make a couple of big shots.

That’s one of the reasons they traded for Joe Johnson.

Johnson made the tiebreaking basket with 3:03 left, followed with another jumper, and the Nets beat the Boston Celtics 102-97 on Thursday night for their fourth straight victory.

Johnson finished only 6 of 17 from the field, but he had the two biggest makes of the game in the biggest victory his new team has recorded since acquiring him from Atlanta…

Williams and Brook Lopez each scored 24 points for the Nets, who were blown out by Miami in their lone game against a top opponent this season, their first with a rebuilt team and high expectations in Brooklyn…

Johnson finished with 19 points and eight rebounds for the Nets in front of a sold-out crowd of 17,732 that was divided but certainly loud in the tense, final minutes.

Pierce scored 22 points and Leandro Barbosa had 17 in place of Rondo, who was out with a sprained right ankle. Kevin Garnett added 14 points but Boston had its three-game win streak snapped and lost to the Nets for just the third time in the past 21 meetings.

– Reported by Brian Mahoney of the Associated Press

InsideHoops.com note: The Nets are still without forward Gerald Wallace.