BOSTON - He is two weeks removed from receiving his bachelor's degree in business management from Georgia Tech, signaling a potential career path for Jarrett Jack when his days in the NBA are done.
But perhaps he should ponder life as a detective.
Jack had that criminology thing down pat Friday, realizing something was amiss when Gerald Wallace -- who hadn't played at all to that point -- checked into the game with Joe Johnson at the free-throw line and 1.5 seconds left.
"Oh my God," said Jack, who had 27 points, seven rebounds and five assists in the Nets' 109-107 victory over the Celtics at TD Garden. "First, when they subbed him in the game, I was like this: 'He don't have his dreads tied, nothing.' So it's got to be something to this play. But he definitely threw it. He put it on the money and I'm like, 'Man, please don't go in, please don't go in.' "
Former Net Wallace fired a full-court inbounds pass to Jared Sullinger just outside the left side of the low block, and Sullinger shot a 10-foot turnaround jumper over Mason Plumlee's outstretched hands. It rimmed out, drawing a collective gasp from the matinee crowd and a flurry of Nets fist pumps.
"I was holding my breath," coach Lionel Hollins said after the Nets' third straight win, their longest streak of the season. "I should've just told Mase to foul. We had a foul to give, but the clock wasn't started. It would've been nice if he just grabbed a guy, but in those situations, I wouldn't tell him to do that because he may turn and shoot it, and go to the free-throw line and tie it up."
With two of their Big Three in Deron Williams and Brook Lopez on the bench because of minutes restrictions as they work their way back from injuries, the Nets (13-15) fell behind 95-84 with 8:53 remaining but roared back with a 24-9 run. When Jack hit two free throws for a 108-104 lead with 5.4 seconds remaining, things appeared settled.
But Avery Bradley drilled a long three-pointer with 1.8 seconds left to shave the Nets' lead to a point. Johnson missed the first of two free throws and made the second with 1.5 seconds left, leaving the door ajar for the Celtics (10-17).
Considering their non-existent defensive effort for the better part of the game's first three quarters and an overall atrocious display in the third period, the Nets should have considered themselves lucky to be in position to pull it out.
The Nets turned the ball over seven times in the third quarter, leading to 10 points for Boston. The Celtics -- who were paced by Jeff Green's 22 points, Sullinger's 19 and Bradley's 17 -- outhustled the Nets for 18 points in the paint on 15 shots during the quarter and took an 84-72 lead before bringing an 86-79 advantage into the fourth quarter.
The Nets were effective running some middle pick-and-roll plays in the fourth, jump-starting a 30-point quarter. That 12-point deficit in the third quarter was the largest they have overcome during a win all season.
"We could make it easier on ourselves for sure," said Plumlee, who had his fifth double-double in his last eight games with 14 points and 12 rebounds. "But a win's a win right now, especially to get three in a row. That's big for us."