Celtics salvage the road trip, beat the Jazz 110-107 as Pierce comes up big in OT

Who would have thought playing a gigantic team like the Jazz would be just what the Celtics needed to end the last west coast road trip of the year semi-successfully winning two out five.

This was the perfect anti-matchup game with the Jazz (31-26) having all the bigs in the world, but missing their starting point guard in Mo Williams and the Celtics having all the guards in the world, but no bigs.

That’s how the game started, too, with Paul Milsap and Avery Bradley scoring the first six points each for their squads. Bradley was the star of the quarter making his first five shots to finish with 10 points, two assists and two steals.

Boston (30-27) finished the quarter with a 28-26 lead, but the Jazz came back in the next period and took an eight point lead of their own halfway through the second quarter. But as everyone knows, basketball is a game of runs and the Celtics came back and tied the game up with two minutes left in the half. The Jazz then caught some hot shooting from Marvin Williams to take a five point lead into the third quarter at 53-48.

Bradley finished the half with 12 points and the other Celtic in double figures was, amazingly, Brandon Bass with 10 points. The Celtics were still in the game even though
Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce were a combined 3-9 for nine points.

The Celtics came out of halftime looking to make a statement and led most of the quarter. Bradley picked up where he left off with six more points and Courtney Lee had some key baskets in the quarter to keep up the “our smalls versus your bigs” mentality of the game.

Boston went into the final frame with an 80-72 lead after outscoring the Jazz 32-19 in the third quarter.

Of course, the Jazz weren’t just going to give up and went on a 13-2 run to start the quarter, taking a three point lead of their own at 85-82. From there, the two teams went back and forth tying the game up multiple times with neither squad really taking over.

The final two minutes saw Gordon Hayward totally airball a jump shot and Pierce front rim a jumper with Jason Terry finally getting an easy fast break bucket with a minute left. Pierce fouled Hayward and the player who looks like he’s 10 years old made both free throws to tie the game back up.

Pierce then pulled his usual clutchness hitting the two point jumper with 36 seconds left to take the lead. Boston’s defense looked to be throwing the Jazz off what they wanted to do, until Alec Burks drove to the bucket and made the layup to tie the game back up at 97 with 19.9 seconds left.

The captain took the ball for an iso, did a little half spin move and missed the jumper. So the Celtics were off to overtime.

In overtime, it was the Paul Pierce Show as the Truth took over, hitting almost every shot the Jazz were unfortunate enough to let him take and giving the Celtics a five point lead with a minute left. Garnett hit a big shot with around 45 seconds left to keep the Celtics lead at five after an Al Jefferson jumper, but Burks came right back and scored to keep the Jazz within a three from sending the game to another overtime.

Garnett barely missed a jumper due to the shot clock and the Jazz had a chance to tie it up with 13 seconds left in extra time. The Celtics had a foul to give so the Jazz had to get a three with 11 seconds left, but Utah couldn’t find one and with four seconds left Garnett did the smart thing and fouled Milsap and all the Jazz could get was his two free throws.

Up by one, Boston got the ball to Lee who was fouled and hit both free throws to give the Celtics a three point lead with a second left. Randy Foye got a good look at a tying three, but was way off.

Pierce was the player of the game and finished with 26 points eight assists and seven rebounds. Until Pierce’s late game heroics, Bradley would have been the star tonight and finished with 18 points, five rebounds and four assists. Garnett had a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds, Jason Terry had 14 points, Brandon Bass had 15 and Lee had 12.

For the Jazz, Jefferson had 15 points and 11 rebounds, Milsap had 16 and six and Hayward finished with 26 points.

Other notes

Fab Melo and Terrence Williams were the only two players to not see action for Boston

Garnett and Pierce each played over 36 minutes

The Celtics were only outrebounded 44-37

Boston now has three days off until they play the Warriors at home Friday followed by three more days off

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