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.
Pete, Thornton and Price give their final thoughts and predictions for the Super Bowl.
Gabe calls the boys to handicap one of the biggest gambling days of the year - Super Bowl 51! Gabe has all the point spread info down and gets to all of the major prop bets that interest him.
Fauria is still down in Houston and calls live from NRG Stadium to give his take on what will go down later on in Super Bowl 51. He likes the Pats and gives his reasons why, but also gets into the scene in Houston all week, famous people he met and why he is tired out from a wild week.
The NBA trade rumor mill is beginning to swirl as the deadline approaches and Picard is ready to go! He talks about the possibility of Jimmy Butler coming to Boston, why Isaiah Thomas is not getting enough respect and the future of the Celtics.
Adrian Wojnarowski has been talking about the possibility of the Celtics making a trade with the Bulls to bring Jimmy Butler to Boston. He actually thinks it may be the the marquee deal to keep an eye on this week heading into the trade deadline. Pete and Jerry discuss and give their thoughts on if they would want Butler. Pete thinks it will happen, Jerry thinks Ainge will stay put. The guys get into more Celtics, present and future and if they can battle with the best of the NBA.
Anna Horford, sister of Boston Celtics Al Horford, makes her Boston radio debut. She talks about Twitter and reacting to mean tweets about her brother. She also gives us her thoughts on the city of Boston and racism.
Bradford checks in from spring training to give us all the media dirt he can dig up...oh, and talk some baseball too.
Rob Bradford is joined by Lou Merloni to talk life in spring training, his toiletries, sleeping arrangements, and facing off with Red Sox personnel that he might have been critical of. Rob and Lou also get into the dynamic of electronic and print media when it comes to ripping the Red Sox.
Pete, Bradford, and Tomase are talking all about the Boston Red Sox, who opened spring training on Monday with pitchers and catchers reporting. They talk about what the Red Sox approach at the plate will be to replace the loss of David Ortiz bat, the impact of some players participating in the WBC, and of course the pitching rotation.
Guys talk the Bruins season so far and the All-Star Break
Guys discuss if or when the Bruins will fire Coach Julian
Ken, Rear and Ty get into a very solid week for the B's beating St Louis and the Flyers and losing a hard-fought game against the Predators. Is this team turning things around? Krug and Marchand are kicking things up a notch. The guys also talk about Claude and Sweeney's job security before getting into some big hits around the league this week.
Hour 4. Red Sox broadcaster Dave O'Brien joins the show.
Hour 3. The guys take more calls on transgender bathrooms. Evan Drellich joins the show...again.
Dino reunites with the guys at spring training.
Max Kellerman rips Pats fans. Skip Bayless says Bill Belichick is "good, not great." And Dan Le Batard feels the heat from Keyshawn Johnson regarding his criticisms of Magic Johnson.
It took a few hours, but Glenn finally starts to agree with Lou and Mut about Danny Ainge.
Obviously the Celtics aren't expected to overtake the Cavs in the East, but the guys wonder if the team is trying to get a little bit better each year, or hold onto their assets until LeBron is over the hill.
Dale, Michael and Rich Keefe discuss the C's lack of moves at the NBA trade deadline and try and figure out why, and what is the next best opportunity for the Celts to make a move?
Dale, Michael and Keefe discuss the comments made by Dave Dombrowski on K&C this morning concerning John Farrell and his in-game management.
We close out the show with the best sound bites of the day.
Kirk and Glenn continue their conversation from last week. In this episode Kirk and Glenn scream at each other about the infamous "station incident", what the news of the merger means to WEEI and the Sports Hub, and Kirk tries to get Glenn to answer what the perfect "Big Show" would be. You will not find a better look behind the scenes of radio.
Kirk sits down with the legend Glenn Ordway to talk about when Glenn got fired here at WEEI, his start with the station, the controversial decisions he made when he was the Program Director, and he relationship with Eddie Andelman.
Kirk chats with David Duchovny about his current music tour, which takes him to the Wilbur on February 22nd, how David got his start in television, from his first stint on Red Shoe Diaries, becoming a superstar on the X-Files, and his hilarious appearances on the Larry Sanders Show. This is a fascinating discussion about show business and controlling your own career.
Ken Laird and Chris Curtis recap Wednesday and Thursday's K&C shows on location in Ft. Myers
Kirk and Glenn continue their conversation from last week. In this episode Kirk and Glenn scream at each other about the infamous "station incident", what the news of the merger means to WEEI and the Sports Hub, and Kirk tries to get Glenn to answer what the perfect "Big Show" would be.
Rich Keefe & Ryan Davey talk best and worst movie/TV presidents. Plus the always important "This Week in #DORK" and the Pick of the Podcast.
Hour 4. Evan Drellich joins the show. A fight for the ages ensues.More from this show
Hour 1. Evan Drellich attacked Kirk and Gerry for their interview with John Farrell. Kirk had an accident.More from this show
Dino reunites with the guys at spring training.More from this show