Rajon Rondo had 16 points, 15 assists and nine rebounds in 53 minutes while Paul Pierce had a season-high 34 points as the Celtics outlasted the Mavericks, 117-115, in a double-overtime thriller Wednesday night at TD Garden. Jason Terry had just 10 points in 47 minutes against the team with which he won an NBA championship in 2011. Kevin Garnett had 16 points and five rebounds in 41 minutes.
Vince Carter hit a three with 9.3 seconds in remaining in double-overtime to cut Boston's lead to one but Pierce hit two free throws to restore a three-point lead. Darren Collison hit a pair of free throws with 6.1 seconds left but Pierce again answered with two free throws with 5.3 seconds left to seal the game.
The Mavericks helped Boston's cause, committing 28 turnovers, leading to 34 points. The Celtics committed just 13 turnovers in 58 minutes.
Despite a red-hot start by Dallas from the field, the Celtics were in control for most of the first half. The Mavericks, who had Shawn Marion return from a strained right groin after a two-game absence, made nine of their first 15 shots and finished the first quarter shooting 11-of-19 from the field. But the Celtics, thanks to six points in the first five minutes from Kevin Garnett, took a 27-25 lead after the first quarter.
The Celtics opened the second quarter on an 8-0 run to expand their lead to 10. Paul Pierce led the way, scoring 11 of his 16 first-half points in the second stanza. Pierce added three steals as the Celtics took a 48-43 lead to the locker room at the half.
The Celtics opened the second half on a 17-9 spurt to build a 13-point lead, 65-52, with 6:36 left. But the Mavericks closed the quarter on an 11-4 run to cut Boston's lead down to 74-70 before Rondo hit an 18-foot jumper from the left wing at the buzzer to give Boston a 76-70 lead heading into the fourth.
Green again provided a huge energy boost off the bench in the fourth quarter, highlighted by an alley-oop slam on a lob from Rondo. The thunderous dunk with 9:42 left in the fourth put Boston up, 82-77. Green scored eight of his 15 points in the fourth quarter.
Garnett hit a turnaround with 2:58 left in the fourth to put Boston up 92-88 but O.J. Mayo countered with a basket and Darren Collison drove for a layup that tied the game, 92-92, with 2:20 left, the first tie since 21-21 in the first quarter. Rondo hit a jumper with 2:04 left to put Boston up, 94-92. Derek Fisher responded with a three that gave Dallas its first lead of the night, 95-94, with 1:47 left. Pierce came down and hit a turnaround jumper with 1:30 left to put the Celtics back in front.
Mayo hit one of two free throws with 52.1 seconds left to tie the game, 96-96. Pierce came down and forced a shot to get a 2-for-1 chance at the end of the game. Rondo saved the game with a reach-around poke that forced Mayo to turn the ball over with 6.9 seconds left. Rondo went one-on-one off the in-bounds play and had his shot partially blocked to force overtime.
Overtime started well for the Celtics as Terry converted a three-point play, with a field goal and free throw with 4:36 remaining in overtime. After three straight points from Collison, Pierce gave Boston the lead again, 101-99, with a layup with 2:08 left. After Mayo tied the game, 105-105, with 11.1 seconds left, the Celtics had another chance to win it but Pierce's fallaway was short at the buzzer, forcing a second overtime.
The Celtics are off Thursday before opening a three-game road trip on Friday in Houston. They play in San Antonio on Saturday before a game against the Bulls in Chicago on Tuesday. For complete coverage from Mike Petraglia and Ben Rohrbach, visit the Celtics team page at weei.com/celtics and the Green Street blog.
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