Paul Pierce drained six of his first seven 3-point attempts and finished with a team-high 29 points, but the Celtics blew a late lead and lost to the Nets, 97-96, Tuesday night in preseason action at TD Garden. With guards Dionte Christmas and Jamar Smith cut before the game, Rajon Rondo played a preseason-high 35 minutes and finished with five points and 11 assists. The Celtics led 95-86 with 3:16 left before the Nets went on a 10-0 run to take the lead with 40 seconds remaining.
Pierce -- who made 10 of his 17 shots and finished 6-of-8 from long distance -- played 27 minutes and started the game with regulars Rondo and Kevin Garnett. Rookie Jared Sullinger and newcomer Courtney Lee filled out the starting lineup for Doc Rivers, who was not on the bench for the second half. Michael Longabardi and Armond Hill took over for Rivers in the second half. Sullinger had six points, nine rebounds and five personal fouls in 30 minutes of action, the most time he's seen this preseason. Lee had 13 points in 30 minutes.
Garnett, who was held scoreless in the first half, played just 14 minutes, finishing with just eight points and three rebounds.
Jeff Green, in a role he'll likely play during the season, came off the bench to score 14 points in 28 minutes as the Celtics fell to 1-4 in the preseason.
After leading by just two, 49-47, at the half, the Celtics came out red-hot from the field in the third quarter. Led by back-to-back treys from Pierce, the Celtics made 14-of-21 shots from the floor and built their lead to 83-74 heading into the fourth.
Celtics center Jason Collins hit 1-of-2 free throws with 23.8 seconds left to tie the game at 96. After Brooklyn's Stephen Dennis missed a pair of free throws with five seconds remaining, Mirza Teletovic grabbed the rebound, was fouled and converted one free throw with 4.1 seconds left for the win. Kris Joseph missed a shot at the buzzer that would've won the game for Boston.
The Celtics play Thursday in Brooklyn and Saturday at Madison Square Garden against the Knicks. The Celtics will play one more preseason game at the Garden -- Sunday night against the Sixers -- before getting ready for the regular-season opener on Oct. 30 against the defending NBA champion Heat in Miami.