NEW YORK — Andray Blatche and Joe Johnson each scored 21 points in the Brooklyn Nets' 102-93 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday night, making Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett winners in their first matchup with Doc Rivers.
Brook Lopez had 16 points and Deron Williams 15 for the Nets, who won their season-high third straight. Pierce scored 10 points off the bench in his second game back from a broken hand.
Chris Paul scored 20 points but had just two assists as the Clippers lost for the first time in nine games this season when he reaches 20.
Pierce and Garnett went 2-0 in a reunion tour of ex-Celtics this week. They helped the Nets beat Boston here Tuesday, then Rivers made an emotional return to Boston on Wednesday. Rivers said before this game he knew it would be fun because of how competitive his two former stars are.
It finally rubbed off on their new team, as the Nets were much more fired up than in some of their poor performances during an 8-14 start. Garnett had just two points but played rugged defense on Blake Griffin, shaking off coach Jason Kidd's attempt to sub him out in the second quarter after picking up a third foul. He was whistled for his fourth in the third quarter that was so hard officials originally called it a flagrant before overturning it when replay showed he'd actually hit Griffin in the upper arms, not the face.
Rivers coached Pierce and Garnett to the 2008 NBA title, but wasn't interested in remaining in Boston after last season once it became clear the Celtics were heading toward a rebuilding era.