The Brooklyn Nets rolled to a comfortable 95-83 road victory over the Boston Celtics thanks to outstanding play by reserve power forward Andray Blatche and the ejection of Rajon Rondo for instigating a brawl.
The key moment of Wednesday night's game came when Rondo, the Celtics' star point guard, became upset by Kris Humphries' foul on Kevin Garnett and shoved the Nets forward under the basket, sparking a fight that spilled into the stands.
Rondo and Nets players Gerald Wallace and Humphries were all ejected from the game for participating in the brawl just before the end of the first half, which ended with the Nets leading 51-38.
The Nets controlled the action throughout at Boston's TD Garden and built a 21-point lead in the second half; the Celtics managed to reduce the deficit to nine in the fourth quarter but never got closer.
Rondo's ejection brought an end to a remarkable streak of 37 consecutive games with 10 or more assists, leaving him in a tie for second place all-time with former Utah Jazz great John Stockton.
Lakers legend Magic Johnson's record of 46 straight games with double-digit assists remains safe.
In just 18 minutes of play prior to his ejection, Rondo scored six points, dished out three assists and notched two steals.
Garnett recorded a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds, while forward Paul Pierce contributed 14 points for the Celtics, whose record fell to 8-7.
Blatche scored 17 points and grabbed 13 rebounds for the Nets, whose record improved to 10-4, while veteran swingman Jerry Stackhouse, who scored 17 points on 5-of-6 shooting from 3-point range, and guard C.J. Watson, who added 13 points, also contributed heavily off the bench.
Guard Joe Johnson connected on 3-of-6 shots from behind the 3-point arc to lead all Nets scorers with 18 points.
In other action on a busy Wednesday night in the NBA, the New York Knicks remained tied with the Nets in the Atlantic Division by defeating the Milwaukee Bucks 102-88, the Washington Wizards finally got their first win of the season by edging the Portland Trail Blazers 84-82 and the San Antonio Spurs trounced the Orlando Magic 110-89.
The Atlanta Hawks eked out a 94-91 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats, the Detroit Pistons won for the fifth time in eight games with a 117-77 rout of the Phoenix Suns, the Chicago Bulls pummeled the Dallas Mavericks 101-78, the Utah Jazz eased past the New Orleans Hornets 96-84 and the Memphis Grizzlies continued to shine with a comfortable 103-82 win over the Toronto Raptors.
The Oklahoma City Thunder demolished the Houston Rockets 120-98 and in the final game of the night the Los Angeles Clippers topped the Minnesota Timberwolves 101-95.
The Timberwolves have struggled to a slow start due to injuries to key players, but they got some good news Wednesday when star point guard Ricky Rubio - who tore his ACL in March - was medically cleared to practice with his teammates. EFE