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WEEI » This Just In » Sweet music: C's tune Jazz for 3rd straight
Wed, 03/28/2012 - 8:47pm  

Sweet music: C's tune Jazz for 3rd straight

Kevin Garnett had 23 points, Paul Pierce scored 20 and Brandon Bass added 19 as the Celtics overcame blowing an 18-point second-half lead to outlast the Jazz, 94-82, Wednesday night at TD Garden. Al Jefferson -- who had a minor arm-swinging run-in with Garnett in the fourth -- finished with 18 points and 12 rebounds. As a result of their third straight win, the Celtics improved to 28-22 and again tied the 76ers for first in the Atlantic Division. 

Rajon Rondo finished with 14 assists, becoming the first NBA player with double-digit assist totals in 11 straight games since Steve Nash in 2009. 

Both teams were sluggish to start the game and it showed in the shooting percentages, as the Jazz made just 7-of-21 shots but converted all three 3-pointers they attempted to take a 21-18 lead after 12 minutes. The Celtics -- who made just 8-of-22 shots in the opening quarter -- found their shooting range in the second quarter, converting 11-of-20 shots. The highlights of the first half were alley-oop dunks by Ryan Hollins on perfect feeds from Rondo on consecutive possessions.

Trailing 23-18 following a Derrick Favors dunk on the first play of the second quarter, the Celtics went on a 26-6 run to take a 15-point lead. The Celtics outscored Utah 28-14 in the second quarter to take a 46-35 halftime lead. 

The Celtics continued on fire in the third quarter, builing their lead up to 18 (61-43) early in the quarter. But Utah closed with a 17-3 spurt to get within four, 64-60. The Jazz held a commanding 42-25 rebounding edge, offsetting Boston's ballhandling advantage. The Celtics committed just six turnovers while Utah had 13. 

Alec Burks drove to the basket, made a layup and was fouled. His free throw knotted the game, 66-66, with just over 11 minutes left. But Keyon Dooling answered on the next possession with a 3-pointer and Garnett followed that up on the next possession with a jumper as part of a 7-0 run that made it 73-66. 

Jazz guard Gordon Haward provided a spectacular highlight, blocking Dooling and Avery Bradley in the span of 10 seconds on consecutive bids for a layup. He then scrambled for the loose ball and raced up the court with the ball, leading to a pair of Jazz free throws. 

The Celtics are off Thursday before traveling to Minnesota for a Friday night game against Kevin Love and the Timberwolves. They return home Sunday to host LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and the Heat at the Garden.

For complete coverage from the team of Paul Flannery, Mike Petraglia and Ben Rohrbach, visit the Celtics team page at weei.com/celtics and the Green Street blog. 




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