Pierce lifts road-weary Celtics over Jazz in OT

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 26, 2013 at 12:24 am •  Published: February 26, 2013
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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The Boston Celtics weren't too tired after playing five games in seven days back and forth across time zones.

They had enough left to play overtime to close out a long Western road trip, beating the Utah Jazz 110-107 on Monday night.

Thirty-five-year-old Paul Pierce led Boston with 26 points, including seven straight in the extra session.

"It was huge," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. "Whatever that was, it was the best win of the year for me. . To go into overtime and still have enough to win."

It wasn't just the ageless Pierce. Kevin Garnett, three months shy of his 37th birthday, stood strong at the end, refusing to let Rivers sub him out by insisting, "I am good."

Rivers didn't believe that, "but I kept him in and he was terrific."

Garnett had four points in overtime on 2-of-2 shooting, with three rebounds. He finished with 13 points, 10 rebounds, a blocked shot and steal.

The Celtics also got a big game from Avery Bradley, who scored a season-high 18 points on 8-of-12 shooting.

Pierce had a chance to win it in regulation, but his 19-footer at the buzzer rimmed out.

Alec Burks' reverse layup pulled Utah to 108-105 with 37 seconds left in overtime. Garnett's banked 3-pointer with 13 seconds left came after the shot clock expired, giving the Jazz another chance.

Paul Millsap was fouled before he could get off a 3, but made two free throws with 4.2 seconds remaining.

Courtney Lee added two free throws at the other end with 1.2 seconds left to bump Boston's lead back to three, and Randy Foye's 26-footer at the buzzer missed everything.

It was another one the Jazz let get away, though Monday's game had huge swings both ways from start to finish.

Overall, the game had 13 lead changes and was tied 17 times.

"We were in position," said Jazz forward Marvin Williams. "We fought back in the fourth quarter to force overtime but Boston just made big plays down the stretch."

Gordon Hayward led Utah with 26 points, Millsap had 16 and Al Jefferson finished with 15 points and 11 rebounds.

The Celtics (30-27) were playing their fifth game in seven days, but didn't seem to care down the stretch.

The Jazz (31-26) led 101-99 in overtime on DeMarre Carroll's 21-footer, but Pierce countered with a 3-pointer, then followed with a pull-up jumper over Carroll and a 15-footer to give the Celtics a 106-101 edge with 1:12 left.

Jefferson hit a 15-footer with 1:05 left to get Utah within 106-103, but Garnett's jumper helped seal it.

"We knew this was probably going to be the toughest game for us physically and mentally," Pierce said. "Talking about a long road trip, coming in to one of the toughest places to play. We felt we could salvage this trip with a win here. So guys did a good job of just being mentally tough, digging in and doing what we had to do to get the win."

The Celtics, who went 2-3 on the trip, also were smart down the stretch, fouling with fouls to give and finding a wide-open Lee on the inbounds pass when the Jazz needed a late steal in overtime. His free throws provided the final margin.



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