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Celtics crush Nets to extend streak

THE Boston Celtics chalked up their fourth consecutive victory by crushing New Jersey Nets 105-85 on Saturday.

Ray Allen scored 25 points and five other Celtics were in double figures for the Atlantic Division leaders, who had lost seven of nine games before their winning streak.

Allen collected 20 of his points in a one-sided first half which Boston led 68-39. The Celtics were 18-2 ahead after only seven minutes.

"We know first hand that's when teams get confident, early on, and keep it going throughout the game," Allen said. "We've lost a couple of games this year that way, from not coming out with the right energy."

Rajon Rondo had 12 assists by halftime and finished with 14. Kevin Garnett contributed 12 points and 10 rebounds, Paul Pierce and Eddie House each scored 13 points, and Leon Powe had 12.

Brook Lopez topped the Nets with 28 points and 10 rebounds. The only other Nets player with 10 or more points was Jarvis Hayes on 15.

"I was totally embarrassed about our performance," said Nets coach Lawrence Frank after benching his starters in the second half. "I can't explain it. It's hard to fathom."

The loss was the third straight for the third-placed Nets, who dropped to 13 1/2 games behind the Celtics.

In other NBA action, the Philadelphia 76ers beat the New York Knicks 107-97. Also, it was: Hornets 91, Pistons 85; Bobcats 102, Trail Blazers 97, OT; Spurs 92, Bulls 87; Mavericks 115, Jazz 108; Bobcats 102, Trail Blazers 97, OT; Magic 106, Nuggets 88; and Clippers 101, Bucks 92.


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