Paul Pierce scored 12 points in the overtime session, including his 20,000th career point, and the Celtics held off a game Bucks team,105-102 Wednesday night at the TD Bank Garden.
In a back-and-forth fourth quarter, Boston led 90-87 with 20 seconds left and the ball, but Brandon Jennings stripped Paul Pierce on an isolation play and went in for an uncontested layup.
After Ray Allen missed his second free throw , Carlos Delfino curled off an elbow screen for an easy layup with 10 seconds left in the fourth quarter to send the game into overtime.
Despite 28 points from Pierce and 23 from Ray Allen, Boston needed a late-game rally to pull out the win on the second night of a back-to-back. Boston trailed Milwaukee, 80-74, with three minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.
With 2:30 left, Kevin Garnett put down a rim-rattling, cock back dunk while being fouled by Andrew Bogut. After a pair of shoves earned Garnett and Bogut double technicals, Garnett made the free throw to pull within two, 82-80.
On the next Celtics possession, Pierce ran the wing on the fast break and Rondo hit him in stride for another and-one. After an Ilyasova tip in, Garnett had yet another and-one after shaking Ilyasova with a wicked spin move, putting the Celtics ahead 86-84.
Garnett shot poorly (just 5-15 FG) and was beat on defense by Drew Gooden and Ersan Ilyasova a few times, but those two and-one moves were the most explosive plays he’s had since returning from injury last season. So far this season, Garnett looks much healthier, or at least more confident in his physical abilities.
Rajon Rondo continued his excellent passing, recording 15 assists to go along with 17 points and eight rebounds. Rondo provided the leadership down the stretch, ensuring the Celtics would not give in with his brilliant play. Rondo did miss the potential game-winning shot in regulation, but it was a credit to Rondo’s play in the fourth quarter that Doc Rivers put the ball in his hands on the final possession of a tied game. It’s the first time I can remember Rondo taking the last shot and could be a sign of things to come.
Ultimately, Paul Pierce closed out the game like he has done so many times before in Boston. Needing just one point to reach 20,000, and leading 99-97 with under 15 seconds left in overtime, Rondo inbounded the ball to Pierce who was immediately fouled.
Pierce made the first of two free throws, raised his arms in acknowledgement of the milestone and the Boston Celtics fans, then nailed the second free throw to put the Celtics ahead, 101-97.
Delfino sunk a turnaround corner three-pointer with 10 seconds left to keep my heart pounding, but, after Pierce sunk four more free throws, Marquis Daniels stole the final inbound pass to secure the three-point win.
Next up for Boston, former Celtics Tom Thibodeau and Brian Scalabrine return to the TD Bank Garden Friday as the Celtics take on the Chicago Bulls.
- Renowned Celtic-killer Andrew Bogut led the Bucks with 21 points and 13 rebounds. Ilyasova and Delfino each chipped in 15 points.
- Glen Davis was the high scorer on the Celtics bench with 14 points. The rest of the Celtics bench scored just five points, grabbed five rebounds, and dished zero assists.
- The Bucks bench added 38 points, led by Ilyasova and Corey Maggette (10).
- The Refs were atrocious. Both Davis and Jermaine O’Neal fouled out and coach Doc Rivers earned a fourth quarter technical foul for arguing an insane foul call on O’Neal.