Joe Johnson hit six 3-pointers in his 27 points, Mason Plumlee added 18 points, and the Brooklyn Nets won their 11th straight at home, beating the Boston Celtics 114-98 Friday night.
Former Celtic Paul Pierce had 14 points and Andray Blatche and Jorge Gutierrez added 10 apiece for the Nets, who won their third straight game and ninth in the last 10 to remain within 2 1/2 games behind the Atlantic Division-leading Toronto Raptors. Brooklyn moved within one game of the Chicago Bulls, who lost at Indiana, for the fourth spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race.
Knotted at 45-all with 6:49 left in the second quarter, Brooklyn went on a 19-9 run to pull away from the Celtics, who lost for the sixth time in seven games. A 3-pointer by Johnson and another from Deron Williams gave the Nets a 64-54 lead going into the half.
Avery Bradley led Boston with 28 points and Rajon Rondo had 12 points and 12 assists.
Johnson continued his hot shooting beyond the arc by outscoring Boston 8-2 in the final minutes of the third quarter. The All-Star guard hit a pair of free throws that extended Brooklyn’s lead to 86-72 and with 1:20 hit a 3-pointer that made it 89-72 and after a basket by Jeff Green, he hit another 3 that extended the Nets’ lead to 92-74 with 45.6 left in the quarter.
Brooklyn has won 18 of its last 20 games at the Barclays Center. They improved to 26-10 since Jan. 1, tops in the Eastern Conference since New Year’s Day.
Before the game, Nets general manager Billy King announced that center Brook Lopez had left ankle surgery on March 3. They expect him to be ready by June.
NOTES: Brooklyn’s 11 straight home wins is the longest streak since they had 12 straight, Dec. 16, 2005, to Feb. 8, 2006.