Celtics topple Jazz in overtime thriller

Feb 26 2013 - 1:17am

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Utah Jazz’s Gordon Hayward (20) runs upcourt after scoring against the Boston Celtics during an NBA basketball game on Monday in Salt Lake City. 
RICK BOWMER/The Associated Press
Boston Celtics' Paul Pierce, left, and Utah Jazz's DeMarre Carroll (3) chase a loose ball in the second half during an NBA basketball game Monday, Feb. 25, 2013, in Salt Lake City. Celtics defeated the Jazz 110-107. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
Utah Jazz’s Gordon Hayward (20) runs upcourt after scoring against the Boston Celtics during an NBA basketball game on Monday in Salt Lake City. 
RICK BOWMER/The Associated Press
Boston Celtics' Paul Pierce, left, and Utah Jazz's DeMarre Carroll (3) chase a loose ball in the second half during an NBA basketball game Monday, Feb. 25, 2013, in Salt Lake City. Celtics defeated the Jazz 110-107. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

SALT LAKE CITY -- There's something in those green-and-white uniforms, something more than just skin and bones.

Players have come and gone but the Boston Celtics' mystique somehow stays the same.

That certainly seemed to be the case Monday night at EnergySolutions Arena as Boston ripped a 110-107 victory away from the Jazz.

In the end it was the game Utah could have won -- probably should have won -- especially considering the Celtics were playing the second game of a back-to-back series and game No. 5 of a five-game roadtrip. But Boston -- in those legendary uniforms -- got seven points from All-Star Paul Pierce in the overtime period and gutted out the win.

"That's who he is," Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said of Pierce. "This guy's been in this league a long time."

Pierce, 35, scored 26 points in 39 minutes of work. He went 10-for-20 from the field, hit three 3-pointers and also added eight assists and seven rebounds. All-Star teammate Kevin Garnett, 36, added 13 points and 10 rebounds for the Celtics, who beat a Western Conference opponent on the road for only the second time this season.

Boston (30-27) outscored the Jazz 32-19 in the third quarter and hit 59 percent from the field in the process. Utah (31-26) battled back with a game effort in the fourth quarter but Corbin's lineup ran out of steam in the overtime period while Boston, led by Pierce and Garnett, got by on guile.

Pierce scored seven straight points during a 90-second stretch of the overtime period and dished off to Garnett for two of his four points in the period.

"He's an All-Star, everybody knows that," Utah's Alec Burks said. "A future Hall of Famer. He made some tough buckets over some great defense by DeMarre (Carroll)."

Before the game, Corbin decided to juggle his lineup by swapping veteran point guards. He moved Jamaal Tinsley, 34, to the bench in favor of Earl Watson, 33. However, in the fourth quarter and well into the overtime period it was Burks -- a combo guard with little experience playing the point in the NBA -- who got the bulk of the playing time.

Burks, Gordon Hayward, Carroll, Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson proved to be a reliable group down the stretch and Corbin rolled with them in the overtime period, even as Pierce scored seven straight against them.

He said he thought me might have played them a bit too long in overtime but had to juggle his timeouts with giving minutes to his most effective group.

He saved a 20-second timeout to set up the final play of the game, a catch-and-shoot 3-pointer from Randy Foye with 1.2 seconds left. Foye got a good look at the basket but was rushed and missed the shot.

"They played well, they played hard and the read off each other pretty good," he said. "They just didn't get the stops that we needed down the stretch. Give (the Celtics) a lot of credit."

Burks insisted he and his teammates weren't tired and yet didn't want to give too much credit to the Celtics, either.

"He's nobody to me," he said of Pierce. "Everybody made some shots, everybody makes shots. It's just he's got a bigger name than everybody else."

Hayward, who recently missed 10 games with a sprained right shoulder, played 36 minutes in his third game back. He led the Jazz with 26 points on 7-for-16 shooting.

Millsap scored 16 points and teammate Marvin Williams added 15.

Jefferson also had 15 to go along with 11 rebounds.

Burks played a season-high 32 minutes, scoring eight points on 4-for-10 shooting. He also had five assists and three rebounds.

"We lost, it's over," he said afterward. "Now we play Wednesday (at home against Atlanta). That's how we take it."

 

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