Paul Pierce hit his first six 3-point field goals on the night and scored a season-high 40 points as the Celtics hung on for a 103-91 win over the undermanned Cleveland Cavaliers Wednesday night at TD Garden. The win snapped Boston's three-game losing skid and helped them back over .500 at 13-12 on the season while the Cavaliers fell to an NBA-worst 5-22 on the season. Pierce finished 13-of-16 from the field to lead a red-hot Celtics night from the floor. Boston shot 59 percent from the field as a team. It was Pierce's 24th career 40-point game.
The Celtics appeared to have the game well in hand, building a 20-point lead with 3:16 left in the third. But Boston's bench got sloppy with the ball and allowed the Cavaliers to go on a 20-2 run that made it close in the fourth. The Celtics went on a 10-1 run to fend off the Cavaliers late in the fourth quarter.
Celtics coach Doc Rivers shook things up before the game, benching Courtney Lee and Brandon Bass and starting Jason Terry and Jason Collins. The move allowed Kevin Garnett to move back to his more natural spot at big forward while Pierce picked up the scoring pace.
The move also took advantage of the absence of Anderson Varejao. The NBA's leading rebounder (14.4 rebounds per game) was out with a knee injury.
Early on, the Celtics had trouble shaking the Cavaliers and led by just two points, 27-25, after one. Rajon Rondo, who finished with 20 points and eight assists, had 12 points but no assists in the first quarter.
Pierce began his shooting barrage in the first quarter, hitting a pair of threes. He added one more in the second quarter as the Celtics slowly began to add to their lead, taking a 54-46 lead to the locker room at the half.
Pierce came out on fire in the third quarter, hitting all four threes as part of his 17-point third quarter. The Celtics led 80-60 late in the third but Kyrie Irving scored nine straight points and the Cavaliers ended the third on a 12-2 run that closed the lead to 82-72 after three. The Boston meltdown continued at the start of the fourth as Tyler Zeller converted a three-point play with just over eight minutes left to make it 82-80.
After a Zeller jumper made it 86-82 Celtics, Pierce came down and hit a free-throw line jumper to put the Celtics and had a chance to extend on the next possession but he missed his first three of the night and Zeller answered to cut it to 88-84. Jason Terry intercepted an inbounds pass and went in for a layup and then Rondo hit a jumper to extend Boston's lead to 92-84 with under five minutes left. Pierce hit a pair of free throws with 4:30 left to put Boston ahead, 94-84.
Collins finished with just one point in 23 minutes before fouling out with three minutes left while Terry was 3-for-5 from long range and finished with 15 points. The Celtics finished 8-for-13 from 3-point distance.
The Celtics are off Thursday before hosting the Milwaukee Bucks at the Garden Friday night. For more, visit the Celtics team page at weei.com/celtics.
Patriots LB, Jerod Mayo, talks about the high praise he's been receiving from coach Belichick, trying to forget about last year, and what the team hopes from the defense.
Patriots WR, Danny Amendola, joined the show for a bit to talk about his health, the evolution of the playbook, and the heated battles between the offense and defense.
WEEI.com's Mike Petraglia and Chris Price discuss Wednesday's Patriots practice, which featured Brandon Browner getting into it with Kenbrell Thompkins and a couple others.
Jackie Mac joins the guys to discuss her thoughts on a possible mid-season tournament in the NBA, LeBron's return to Cleveland, trade rumors with the Celtics and Red Sox, and Darrelle Revis' contract situation.
Jackie MacMullan of ESPN Boston to talk about the Lebron James Saga, the possibility of Rajon Rondo being traded, and the future of Marcus Smart.
Former coach of Celtics 1st-round pick Marcus Smart, Travis Ford joins MFB to talk about what Celtics fans should expect from the strong point guard. Among other things, Coach Ford says Smart will be a hard worker, and will improve his shooting ability.
Rob and Alex talk with John Farrell about all the moves the Red Sox made at the deadline, what they gave up and what they gained.
Rob Bradford and Alex Speier are in and talking about all the moves made by the Red Sox at the trade deadline, because the most fun thing about the day is talking about the moves of the day. Red Sox GM Ben Cherington held a press conference talking about the Red Sox moves, and Rob and Alex talk with Red Sox manager John Farrell about the moves made at the deadline.
Former Red Sox outfielder Jonny Gomes reacts to the news that he, along with Jon Lester, have been traded to the Oakland Athletics for Yoenis Cespedes
Rob Bradford is joined by WEEI.com Bruins beat writer DJ Bean, as well as Boston sports fan/blogger Turtleboy to talk all things Bruins free agency. With the B's recent moves, the conversation turns to where the Bruins might next turn and what kind of dent losing Jarome Iginla and Shawn Thornton might make.
DJ discusses Shawn Thornton's new deal, and the on going negotiations with Jerome Iginla
DJ Bean joins the program to dismiss the recent rumors that the Bruins are in discussions to trade Brad Marchand to the Sharks for Patrick Marleau
The top stories of the day as recounted by John Dennis.
John, Gerry and Meter react to the breaking news of Jon Lester being dealt to the A's.
ESPN Boston's Gordon Edes gave us the latest on the Lester trade talks.
Lou goes through the 5 stages of grief, then John Lackey gets traded to the Cardinals.
Lou, Christian, and Tim react to the news that Jon Lester and Jonny Gomes have been traded to Oakland for Yoenis Cespedes. Lou hates the deal the move, especially because Cespedes is not arbitration eligible.
Former Red Sox outfielder Jonny Gomes joins MFB to react to the news he has been traded along with Jon Lester to the Oakland Athletics for Yoenis Cespedes
Biggest trade deadline day in recent memory for the Boston Red Sox... and not in a good way. We discuss it all as the news happens and take your reactions.
We tackle four topics, all surrounding the four worst Sox trade deadline deals in recent memory.
As news looms about a possible Jon Lester trade, we sit down with the skipper of your Sox live from Fenway park.
Mut and Villani are talking about whether the Red Sox will give Jon Lester the type of contract he is looking for, or whether they might be shopping him with rumors of the Red Sox scouting Cole Hamels.
Mut and Villani are talking about the MLB All Star Game, Adam Wainwright and Derek Jeter, and what are some of the worst ideas in sports.
Sam and Zach discuss changing the format of the Podcast, the Chris Archer-David Ortiz debacle, and LeBron James being a super genius
Particularly in a year where the Red Sox have struggled while trying to integrate numerous young players into regular big league roles, accusations that Red Sox prospects are overrated -- whether by the team or writers -- have been widespread. Jim Callis of MLB.com joins the show to take stock of the matter, and to discuss the team-building impact of overrating and underrating prospects.
With the trade deadline looming, the next few days will be defined by how teams value prospects -- and their potential long-term contributions -- against big leaguers with established track records who can address immediate needs. Are prospects being valued accurately? Red Sox left-hander Andrew Miller -- once one of the two key chips that sent Miguel Cabrera from the Marlins to the Tigers -- assesses the matter.
ESPN Boston's Gordon Edes gave us the latest on the Lester trade talks.More from this show
Lou, Christian, and Tim react to the news that Jon Lester and Jonny Gomes have been traded to Oakland for Yoenis Cespedes. Lou hates the deal the move, especially because Cespedes is not arbitration eligible.More from this show
Former Red Sox outfielder Jonny Gomes joins MFB to react to the news he has been traded along with Jon Lester to the Oakland Athletics for Yoenis CespedesMore from this show
Lou goes through the 5 stages of grief, then John Lackey gets traded to the Cardinals.More from this show