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.
Head Coach Bill Belichick with Dale and Holley
Dale, Michael and Jerry sit down with DE Chandler Jones on a Patriots Monday for a candid interview about this season, his new teammates, and the Dallas game this weekend.
Sam Packard is joined by his brother Nick, as he breaks down his favorite moments from Celtics Media Day. Sam then tries to compare each member of the Celtics roster to a character on The Wire, with varied results.
Sam Packard is joined by Jared Weiss of CLNSRadio.Com to talk about trading Bradley and the upcoming Celtics Media Day.
Jay King of Masslive.com joins the show to break down the performance of the Celtics during the NBA Summer League. Then Ben and Sam discuss the exciting possibility of a Space Jam sequel.
Dave O'Brien has called Red Sox baseball games with Joe Castiglione since 2007. Dave is going to the NESN booth next season to take over for Don Orsillo as the Red Sox TV play-by-play man. Dave talks about his time with Joe and the Red Sox Radio broadcast and closes out a very meaningful chapter of a tremendous career. Joe Castiglione offers his thoughts and well-wishes to Dave and closes out, as is tradition, with the Bart Giamatti poem.
We check in for a final time this season with Red Sox interim manager Torey Luvollo as look ahead to 2016 with him.
Joe and Rob Bradford talk with Red Sox catcher Blake Swihart who had his first career multi home run game as the Red Sox beat the Yankees 10-4 and extend their winning streak to a season high 5 games.
WEEI Bruins reporter DJ Bean joins Ken Laird in the WEEI Podcentre to answer six pressing questions about the B's in advance of Thursday's season opener at the Garden
DJ Bean joins Butch Stearns and Rob Bradford in studio with the pre-season ending to discuss the upcoming season's line combinations and the changes made in the offseason.
Florio on the NFL.
The top stories of the day as recounted by Kirk Minihane.
What would you ask Roger Goodell?
Jeb Bush had an interview recently where he was asked if he ever smoked weed with Bill Belichick and Ernie Adams, who were all classmates in high school. Also, Christian tries to prank call Dallas restaurants and fails miserably.
The Colts and Texans had another pathetic game on Thursday Night Football where Ryan Mallet took himself out of the game and Matt Hasselbeck filled in for an injured Andrew Luck. The guys give their reaction and can't believe anyone could pull themselves out of a game the way Mallet did.
Dale, Michael and Jerry discuss the Bruins opening night loss, and whether this will continue or we'll see the team improve when the defense gets healthy.
We close out the week with some of the best in soundbites that you may have missed out on... plus the return of LaRoy on the microphone...
Mikey is back for another season of Patriots-related parody songs, this time he's calling out the Cowboys.
The final hour of the show is nothing if not entertaining
Mikey takes all kinds of phone calls from Patriot fans with the utmost confidence.
Full disclosure we recorded this episode just before the official announcement. Ben and Russ talk the coaching situation in Liverpool, Revs playoffs chances, and Sepp is suspended.
WEEI’s Scott McLaughlin and Mike McMahon of College Hockey News and TheMackReport.com preview all things Hockey East and take a look at Harvard as well. Nate Leaman, head coach of the defending national champion Providence College Friars, joins the show as well.
Salk doesn't think batting the ball should be a big story, he cried twice at that game.More from this show
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