Grit and balls on display, Celtics outlast Nuggets 118-114 in triple overtime, win 7th straight game

No words folks, no words. Simply put, sports are better than anything else because of this game.

The Celtics outlasted the Nuggets 118-114 in triple overtime behind monster performances by (guess who), Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. Pierce had 27 points, 14 rebounds and 14 assists. No that is not a typo. Garnett put up 20/18/6. Both could not shoot their way out of a paper bag, that is, until the shots mattered most. Jason Terry put up a HUGE 26 points off the bench, while Jeff Green added 17 of his own, including a monster three pointer to tie us up in overtime number 1. The Celtics dominated regulation, the Nuggets dominated the first two OT's, but somehow, someway, the C's got the game into the third overtime, and closed the door. Read on for the details. Yes it's a long post, but this game deserved it.

Holy fast start. Before many fans even got into the Garden, the Celtics were up 12-0 on the lightning quick Nuggets thanks to their own run-and-gun style, two Pierce threes, and 4 steals in the first 4 minutes of the game. Of course the Nuggets responded with a 9-0 run of their own, but on the whole the first quarter belonged to the Celtics. Eight Celtics scored in the first 12 minutes, led by (who else) Paul Pierce's 6 points and 4 assists. Terry threw in five points of his own, including a three pointer with just 3 seconds remaining in the quarter, and the Celts led it 29-19 after one.

The 2nd quarter saw Denver play like a team that entered the game with the longest winning streak in the NBA, as they really beat the C's up down low. I'm not sure how Denver ended up with Kenneth Faried, JaVale McGee, and Kosta Koufos all on their roster simultaneously but I would like it if they gave the Celtics one of them immediately. All three are big, strong, fast dudes that really make their presence known down low. Denver grabbed 8 offensive rebounds in the first half, and were able to cut the Celtics lead to 4 at the break (50-46). Of note, 18 players appeared in the first half of this one, and all 18 scored. We knew that both the C's and Nuggets were deep, talent laden teams coming into this one, and they did not disappoint.

The third quarter was basically a baseball game for the Celtics. Paul Pierce started, and scored 12 points in the first 5:03 of the 3rd, and Jason Terry closed, putting up 8 points of his own in the final 5:10. In all the two combined for 20 of the Celts 28 third quarter points, and despite the best efforts of Ty Lawson (11 points in the quarter), grew their lead to 8; 78-70 as the 4th quarter began.

Once the 4th quarter began, these two teams showed off just how even they are. Trailing by eight, Denver went on an 8-0 run in a two minute span to tie it the game at 78. Point Denver. Following a timeout the Celtics came out with a renewed sense of urgency, outscoring Denver 9-2, with the run capped by an Avery Bradley three. Point Boston. However Denver would not go quietly, not by a long shot. Once again Faried proved that his 'Manimal' nickname was well earned, as his three point play cut the Celtics lead to 1 with just 2:34 left, and then he displayed his incredible athleticism and high motor by saving a ball that had no business being saved, right to Lawson, who buried a jumper, giving Denver their first lead of the game with just 1:43 on the clock. Again - point Denver.

The end of the game saw a big shot by Jeff Green that put the Celtics up 2, and then a key stop that really put the C's in a great position - up 2 with the ball and just 35 seconds remaining. But after failing to ice it on the offensive end, the C's gave up the tying basket to Lawson with just 0.8 seconds remaining after a questionable out of bounds call was given to the Nuggets. That means that despite leading this one for over 45 minutes out of the 48, the C's were heading to overtime.

Overtime was the exact opposite of the game itself, but on a much smaller scale, as the Nuggets dictated play, taking a three point lead with under a minute to go before Jeff Green bailed the Celts out with a huge three pointer from the corner to tie things up with just 23 seconds remaining. The Celtics looked tired, and slow, yet Green's shot sent them to double overtime.

Unfortunately for the Celtics, the seemingly non-existant break between overtimes did not heal their tired legs, as they were completely gassed in overtime #2. With exhaustion setting in (KG actually started the OT on the bench) the Celtics trailed by four with just a minute and a half left. Game over, right? Wrong. Thanks to the young legs of Jeff Green, and the old balls of Paul Pierce, the C's forced triple overtime. Pierce's off-balanced, shouldn't have had a shot leaving his hand, prayer of a three pointer tied the game at 107, and sent us to triple overtime. Paul Pierce. Shaq called him 'The Truth' 12 years ago and the nickname still fits like a glove.

Pierce's three rejuvenated the Celtics in the 3rd overtime, and KG, who couldn't have jumped over the weekday edition of the Patriot Ledger by the end of this one, came up with three HUGE buckets for the Celtics, as they finally outlasted Denver.

Long games are not supposed to favor the old team. But the Celtics just found a way to win a game that they dominated for the first 45 minutes or so, despite the gas tank being on E for the 15 minutes of OT they played.

Final score 118-114 Green. Seven wins in a row. Not sure how long this thing is going to last but if you aren't on the bandwagon by now, good luck finding a seat.

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