Boston Celtics defeat New Jersey Nets, 96-87

At the top of the list of Celtics opponents’ defensive axioms is to never leave Ray Allen open.

The same goes for Eddie House. But, of course, that is something easier said by coaches than done by players.

The Nets were applying that strategy against House in the second half of the Celtics’ 96-87 victory last night at TD Garden. Nets guard Devin Harris did not have to be a genius to figure out the Celtics were going to House out of a timeout midway through the final qua...

Trailing, 55-51, at halftime to the Nets, this year’s poster children for futility in the NBA, Celtics coach Doc Rivers kept his locker room message to a few short words.

“I don’t think I need to talk,’’ he told his team, which at that point had been more than adequate offensively, getting 14 assists on 19 field goals, but had been a downed stop sign on defense, letting the Nets shoot 63 percent from the floor.

“We’re a defensive team and tonight we want to outscore ...