After one half in a game in which neither Kevin Garnett or Rasheed Wallace had suited up, Devin Harris finally had enough.
The Nets delivered a woeful performance in front of the home crowd, falling 111-87. Boston enjoyed a wire-to-wire win in which it led by as many as 36 points.
New Jersey allowed Boston to shoot 68.4 percent in the first half and trailed, 71-35, Boston’s largest lead of the night. This display prompted the all-star point guard to lash into his team at halftime, voicing his displeasure at the Nets’ listless first-half performance.
“My frustrations came out, it did,” said Harris, who shot 0-of-6 from the field and scored just one point in the first half. “I try to keep that in check as much as possible, it’s just that at some point we’ve got to take a stand.”
Chris Douglas-Roberts said Harris’ words echoed throughout the locker room and thinks that is what the team needs.
“Devin was pretty upset,” Douglas-Roberts said. “It wasn’t a speech, he was just letting off some frustration. It was pretty good to see. It’s the first time I’ve seen him let off frustration like that. I’d rather see that.”
Boston shot the lights out to open the game. The Celtics converted 10 of their first 11 shots and jumped out to a 31-13 lead. Rajon Rondo’s free-throw with 3:39 left in the first quarter capped an 18-4 run.
Boston held a 38-22 lead after the first quarter, and things did not get much better for the Nets. With the Celtics’ bench players in the game, Boston began the second quarter on a 14-3 run. Kendrick Perkins’ hook shot with 6:30 left in the half doubled up the Nets’ score, 50-25.
Boston continued to pour it on and Ray Allen’s layup with 0.9 seconds left off an inbounds play gave the Celtics their largest lead.
Courtney Lee characterized New Jersey’s performance in the first half as “embarrassing.”
“[Walking off the court, we’re] disappointed. It’s embarrassing,” Lee said. “You’re down almost 30, almost 40, it’s embarrassing. We’re an NBA team too so we need to go out there and compete like one.”
The Nets responded with some life in the second half, but it was too little and way too late. Trailing 75-39, the Nets embarked on a 10-0 run. Harris spurred the run, scoring six straight points.
New Jersey outscored Boston, 29-19, in the third quarter and still trailed by 26 points. Boston head coach Doc Rivers called on his bench leading 90-64 to start the fourth quarter.
Boston’s starters all scored in double figures and sat out the final frame with a game Thursday night against Chicago.
Paul Pierce scored a game-high 24 points while fellow guard Rajon Rondo poured in 11 points and dished out 14 assists.
Rajon Rondo led the Celtics’ offense and said his team did not take the Nets lightly.
“We knew about their record, but at the same time, they’re still a professional team,” Rondo said. “On any give night you can lose. We want to respect our opponent and I think we did that.”
Pierce’s comments mirrored those of his teammate’s.
“We didn’t look at them like a three and  team,” Pierce said. “We looked at this game like a game we’ve got to win coming off a loss.”
Boston dominated New Jersey in the paint, outscoring the Nets, 56-26. The Celtics also out-rebounded the Nets, 47-36.
New Jersey’s big men, Brook Lopez and Yi Jianlian, led the Nets in scoring with 18 and 19 points, respectively. The two combined for only 13 rebounds and had trouble keeping Boston away from the rim.
Harris added 15 points, but only three Nets scored in double figures. New Jersey shot 37.7 percent as a team and 22.2 percent from three-point land.
Lee and new Net Kris Humphries scored nine points apiece.
New Jersey dropped to 3-35. The Nets have yet to win a game in the new year.