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Jarrett Jack's fourth-quarter effort helps Nets hold off Celtics, split home-and-home series

Brooklyn Nets guard Jarrett Jack (2) leaps in

Brooklyn Nets guard Jarrett Jack (2) leaps in the air with guard Shane Larkin after scoring against the Boston Celtics during the fourth quarter of a game on Sunday, Nov. 22, 2015 at Barclays Center. Photo Credit: AP / Julie Jacobson

The chatter for the better part of the 72 hours leading into Sunday night's game against the Celtics revolved around the Nets' early-season misfortunes being beneficial to Boston. That's because the Celtics potentially have dibs on the Nets' next three first-round draft picks.

Each Nets defeat conjures up visions of more imaginary pingpong balls dancing through the heads of Celtics' well wishers, and the 25-point shellacking Boston put on the Nets in New England two days earlier had them downright giddy. But all that chitchat hasn't quite made its way to Jarrett Jack's ears.

"Anybody talking that type of talk, I don't have those type of conversations with," Jack said after the Nets held on to beat the Celtics, 111-101, at Barclays Center Sunday night. "I really am out of the loop as far as that goes."

Jack's fourth-quarter effort kept the Nets (3-11) from adding another pingpong ball into the hopper, igniting them in crunchtime of their first wire-to-wire win of the season. He scored 13 of his 22 points in the final quarter, canning 4 of 5 shots and 5 of 6 free throws.

Offensively, the Nets played as well as they have in their 14 games, shooting a season-best 50.6 percent, erasing those nightmares of 48 hours earlier. "We got embarrassed in Boston, no doubt about that," Joe Johnson said. "And we wanted to come home and protect our house."

Trying to instill some much-needed confidence in his team, coach Lionel Hollins told the Nets that their first outing against the Celtics (7-6) was an "aberration."

"He said it, but he didn't have to," Johnson said. "It was just an embarrassing effort on our part as players and those are the things that we can't let happen."

Even with Marcus Smart out possibly for a couple of weeks after banging knees with Thomas Robinson in Friday's contest, the Nets couldn't put the Celtics away easily. Avery Bradley and Isaiah Thomas each scored 27 points for Boston.

A 22-point second-half lead never felt like enough, particularly with the Nets playing more like a team simply trying to hang on rather than going for the knockout blow.

Boston whittled the Nets' advantage to 90-86 with 9:01 remaining, but Brooklyn never unraveled and staved off the Celtics' charge. Thaddeus Young had two key hustle plays that aided in stabilizing things, diving on the floor for a loose ball after knocking it away from Jonas Jerebko and drawing a charge on Thomas with the Nets leading 102-94 with 3:10 remaining.

That aided in sealing their second straight home victory and snapping a two-game losing skid, temporarily quieting the critics who are continuously dissecting the deal that brought Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to Brooklyn in 2012 and sent all those picks to the Celtics.

"We don't have that type of mentality where we listen to that type of stuff," Young said. "We just play. We play and try to win as many games as possible so we can make the playoffs and potentially win a championship."

"Right now, we are not in the driver's seat. We are in the backseat and sometimes you have to start from the backseat to get up to the front seat. And I think that's one of the things that we are trying to do now. We are trying to work our way back into it. It's still a long season and we know that."

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