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Updated: Thursday, November 21, 2002 11:24 AM EST
NBA RECAP
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Boston 96, New Jersey 79
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BOSTON CELTICS
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BOSTON (Ticker) -- Tony Delk and Shammond Williams gave the Boston Celtics a small measure of revenge against the New Jersey Nets.

Delk and Williams scored 21 points each and led a long-distance barrage as the Celtics cruised to a 96-79 victory over the Nets in a matchup of last season's Eastern Conference finalists.

Delk made 6-of-7 3-pointers and Williams drilled 3-of-3 from the arc. The backcourt duo picked up the shooting slack for All-Stars Paul Pierce and Antoine Walker, who did not have the hot hand.

"We made the extra pass tonight and I thought that was a key to getting a good lead," Delk said.

"We moved the basketball, we were able to knock down shots, we were able to get easy shots, and if you get easy shots - being a professional - you should make them," Williams added.

Pierce and Walker each made two 3-pointers, helping Boston shoot a sizzling 14-of-25 from long range. The Celtics matched their season high for 3-pointers, having also made 14 on November 9 at Minnesota.

"We didn't have a great offensive night, but our two point guards played tremendous tonight and shot the ball tremendous," Walker said.

Jason Kidd scored 19 points for the Nets, who shot less than 35 percent (30-of-87) from the field and made just 4-of-11 from the arc. New Jersey (8-4) has dropped two of its last three games.

It was the first meeting between the teams since last spring, when the Nets defeated the Celtics in six heated games to advance to the NBA Finals for the first time in franchise history.

"I don't understand how you can come in here, especially against a team that you know is going to play you extremely hard and wants to beat you more than any other team in the Eastern Conference, and we come out with that lackadaisical effort?" Scott said. "It's a piece of crap. It's terrible."

The Celtics took the lead for good when Delk made consecutive 3-pointers for a 35-29 advantage with 4:37 left in the second quarter. Williams and Delk added 3-pointers to help push the advantage to 44-37 at halftime.

"Every time they went zone, we thought the corners were going to be open for our 1 or 2 (guards)," Celtics coach Jim O'Brien said. "We got the ball there and knocked down threes. We drill that in a lot of our offenses. Our point guards will end up in the corner because they can really shoot it and that's basically the easiest 3-point shot you can take."

Just before the half, Celtics forward Vin Baker and Nets center Dikembe Mutombo - neither of whom were on their respective teams last season - got into the spirit of the rivalry with a shoving match that ended with technical fouls for each player.

A layup by Kenyon Martin opened the second half and cut the deficit to five points, but Tony Battie dunked, Pierce sank two from the arc and Delk made another, capping an 11-0 burst for a 55-39 lead with 7:27 remaining in the third quarter.

The Nets never really recovered, shooting 4-of-22 in the period. They got within 60-48 on a driving layup by Kidd, but the Celtics rattled off 11 straight points that included another 3-pointer by Delk and a soaring slam by Williams for a 73-50 lead.

"Those two guys, you leave them open, they're going to make shots," Scott said. "It wasn't like they were open with somebody running at them. They could take a dribble or two, grab the seams, look at it and see the NBA logo and then shoot it with as much time as they had."

New Jersey got no closer than 14 points in the fourth quarter. Delk drilled another 3-pointer at the 1:10 mark and "Human Victory Cigar" Bruno Sundov got into the act with 37 seconds left.

Pierce scored 18 points despite 7-of-21 shooting and pulled down 13 rebounds. Walker added 16 on 5-of-19 shooting for the Celtics, who shot 44 percent (35-of-80) and held a 57-46 advantage on the glass. Williams had nine rebounds, Battie eight and Delk, Walker and Eric Williams added seven each.

"This was a big game, especially for myself, because this was the Eastern Conference finals last year," Shammond Williams said. "All year, everyone's been saying, `You don't have the point guard,' things like that. I tried to come in and make a statement that we're still a good basketball team."

Richard Jefferson scored 16 points and Mutombo swept 13 boards for the Nets.

"We didn't compete for whatever reason," Scott said. "We didn't come ready to play. Guys looked tired. We didn't run the floor. It was terrible tonight, just a terrible basketball game."


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