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Celtics, Nets Seek Some Consistency

From Associated Press

The New Jersey Nets and Boston Celtics have three days to ponder the ugly-beautiful nature of their series so far.

Game 1 had an up-tempo flow that was pleasing to the eye--and to the Nets.

Game 2 was much more to the Celtics’ liking, even if it might have been an eyesore to anyone who watched the teams miss a combined 138 shots.

“They came to do a job, they got a game and now they have home court,” New Jersey’s Jason Kidd said. “The series is tied. We knew it was going to be a series.”

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Game 3 is Saturday at Boston, and Game 4 is Monday.

One of the most puzzling problems, however, for the Celtics is Paul Pierce’s suddenly lost shooting touch.

The NBA’s third-leading scorer shot only three for 20 from the field in Game 2 and has made only three three-pointers in the two games.

An 81% free-throw shooter during the regular season, he has already missed 15 free throws in two games.

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If the two games can be broken down into one intangible factor, it would be intensity.

Boston played with an urgency in Game 2, New Jersey with a sense of complacency. The Celtics were the ones diving for loose balls and deflecting passes.

If form holds, the team showing the most hustle will come out of Game 3 with a 2-1 lead.

“They saw defense. The first game they didn’t see any defense,” Boston’s Kenny Anderson said. “This is how the series is going to be now. This is our type of basketball. Let’s see how they respond.”

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Boston is 5-0 at the Fleet Center in the playoffs, and the Nets have gone 2-2 on the road. New Jersey has not lost consecutive games in this postseason.

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Turner Sports’ ratings for the NBA playoffs were up 9% this season and even more in key demographic groups.

For 36 games, TBS and TNT averaged a 2.5 rating compared to last year’s 2.3 for the same number of games. The ratings among men 18-34, the demographic networks covet most, were up 16%. Ratings among all people 18-34 were up 14% and men 18-49 were up 14%.

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Guard Speedy Claxton of the Philadelphia 76ers had arthroscopic surgery on his left shoulder and will be ready for the start of next season. Claxton, a second-year guard who missed his rookie year because of a knee injury, tore a muscle in his left shoulder late in the regular season.... Houston Rocket forward Terence Morris was arrested on charges of speeding and driving with a suspended license in Charles Town, W.Va. Morris, who police said was driving 76 mph in a 60 mph zone, posted a $385 cash bond and was released, court records show. A hearing is set for June 5.


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