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Eddie House scored all 10 of his points in the fourth quarter, helping the Boston Celtics overcome a slow start and pull away from the New Jersey Nets 96-87 on Friday night.
The Nets led 73-72 through three quarters as the Celtics, playing lackadaisical defense, seemed in danger of losing to a team that had won just four games this season and had lost 10 straight meetings against Boston.
House missed all four of his shots in the first three quarters and his first attempt, from 3-point range, in the fourth. But then he sank four of five baskets, including a pair of 3-pointers, to give the Celtics an 84-77 lead. The closest the Nets came after that was 88-84 with 3:41 remaining.
Ray Allen scored 26 points and Rajon Rondo added 17 as Boston won its third straight game.
Brook Lopez scored 19 points and Devin Harris added 17 for New Jersey, which fell to 4-45 with its fifth straight loss.
Boston moved into second place in the Eastern Conference with a 32-16 record, passing Orlando, which fell to 33-17 earlier Friday night with a loss to Washington. The Celtics wind up a three-game homestand Sunday against the Magic.
The Nets are 1-25 on the road and dropped to 3-5 in games they led after three quarters.
The Celtics' biggest lead of the first half was 37-30 with 9:29 left in the second quarter. Then the Nets went on a 25-12 spurt and built their biggest margin, 55-49, just 8.7 seconds before intermission.
New Jersey, last in the NBA with a 42.2 field goal percentage, hit 63.3 percent (19 for 30) of its shots to take a 55-51 halftime lead. But the Nets went just 11 for 38 from the field in the second half.
Both teams started slowly in the fourth quarter as New Jersey missed its first four shots and Boston went 0-for-2 with a turnover on its first three possessions.
House finally connected on a 16-footer to put Boston ahead 74-73 with 9:53 to go before Yi Jianlian gave New Jersey its last lead on a jumper with 9:27 remaining.
Then House made a 3-pointer and Bill Walker sank two free throws, making it 79-75. Yi hit a jumper but House followed with a 3-pointer and a shot from the left corner. Those put Boston ahead 84-77.
The Nets closed to 88-84 on Courtney Lee's 3-pointer, but a layup by Kendrick Perkins and a 3-pointer by Allen secured the victory for the Celtics.
This program aired on February 6, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.
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