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Celtics on 7-game roll _ even without Rondo

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 11, 2013 at 2:17 am •  Published: February 11, 2013
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BOSTON (AP) — Things appeared pretty grim for the Boston Celtics just a few weeks ago.

Rajon Rondo went down with a torn knee ligament, and the team's playoff hopes took a major hit.

Well, the Celtics haven't lost in the seven games since and their latest victory proved they're going to be tough to beat — even without their star point guard. Paul Pierce had 27 points, 14 rebounds and 14 assists and the Celtics extended their winning streak to seven games with a 118-114 triple overtime victory over the Denver Nuggets on Sunday.

"Lots of people still doubt us," Jeff Green said. "Can't come into games thinking we have to impress people."

But they were plenty impressive in to pull this one off — especially since it ended Denver's winning streak at nine games.

Pierce made a tying 3-pointer in the second overtime to make it 107-107 and extend the game.

"I mean that's what great players do. I would love to tell you I had something to do with it," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. "I was sitting just like the fans saying, "Please, Lord. Paul make a shot."

Kevin Garnett had 20 points and grabbed 18 rebounds, while Jason Terry scored a season-high 26 points off the bench.

"It seems like Garnett has a huge heart and wanted to win the game and he made some big-time shots," Nuggets coach George Karl said. "His range has improved and it's about time he get that respect."

Pierce, Garnett and Terry are the only active Celtics with championship rings since Rondo's season-ending knee injury on Jan. 25, a 123-111 loss at Atlanta — Boston's sixth straight defeat. The Celtics haven't lost since.

Terry hit a 3-pointer with 1:33 remaining in the third overtime to put the Celtics ahead 116-113. Danilo Gallinari, who finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds, hit a free throw, but Denver would not get any closer.

"Hard to believe these guys don't have an All-Star," Garnett said of the Nuggets. "That baffles me. Gallinari, Lawson. They have deserving guys."

Terry, who had missed five consecutive 3-point shots in the first two overtimes, also made the defensive play of the game when he stole the ball from Andre Miller with 35 seconds remaining.

Denver had one last gasp as Miller missed a 3-pointer with 4.9 seconds remaining before Terry dribbled the ball up the court and made a layup at the buzzer to finish the scoring.

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