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Celtics 89, Nets 81: Boston responds with D

Coming off one of their most lackluster efforts of the 2014-15 season, the Boston Celtics responded Wednesday in Brooklyn with one of their best defensive performances on the season, overcoming an early double-digit deficit to top the Nets 89-81 at the Barclays Center.

The Celtics struggled to make shots in the early going and could have crumbled after falling behind by double digits late in the first quarter. Instead, the Celtics cranked up their defensive intensity over the final eight minutes of the second quarter -- helping them take a lead into halftime -- then maintained it over the final 24 minutes.

Boston shot only 39.8 percent, but held Brooklyn to 40.5 percent, all while the Celtics limited their turnovers (7 for only 4 points) and made the hustle plays that were sorely lacking during Monday's pathetic loss to the Charlotte Hornets.

Avery Bradley scored a team-high 21 points on 7-of-12 shooting, while Tyler Zeller added 18 points. Evan Turner filled up his stat line with 6 points, 8 rebounds, 7 assists, 2 steals (and no turnovers) over 26 minutes at point guard.

Joe Johnson scored a team-high 17 points for the Nets, who got a double-double from Mason Plumlee (16 points, 12 rebounds).

New England Cram Crowder: Jae Crowder's stat line won't jump off the page -- 5 points on 2-of-7 shooting with 5 rebounds and 2 steals -- but the recent acquisition continues to provide a major spark off the bench for the Celtics. Crowder was plus-9 over 15:10 and had a nice dunk in the fourth quarter.

Loose balls: Coach Brad Stevens pledged to stick with a 10-man rotation and did so. Phil Pressey, Gerald Wallace and -- maybe most surprising -- Brandan Wright were healthy DNPs. ... Former Net Marcus Thornton returned after an 11-game absence due to a left calf tear. He scored 5 points on 2-of-7 shooting over 14 minutes.

What it means: The Celtics snapped a three-game losing streak and started a three-game road trip on the right foot. Boston improves to 12-21, while Brooklyn falls to 17-18. The Celtics trek to Stevens' native Indiana for Friday's tilt with the Pacers, then wrap up the trip on Saturday in Toronto.