Solid 4th quarter lifts Celtics, 96-92

Solid 4th quarter lifts Celtics, 96-92
November 11, 2012, 4:15 am
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MILWAUKEE There are nights when Paul Pierce will get into a shooter's duel with another one of the NBA's other "professional" scorers.

We've seen him go toe-to-toe with LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, among others.

Saturday night's battle was with Monta Ellis, who is one of the NBA's premier scorers.

Ellis won the battle for more points with a game-high 32 points, but Pierce got what really mattered - the victory - as the C's edged Milwaukee, 96-92.

Milwaukee had a chance to tie the score with less than a minute to play, but Bucks forward Ersan Ilyasova turned the ball over as Jeff Green came up with the steal.

The ball wound up in the hands of Pierce, who made the second of his two free throws that gave the Celtics a three-point lead.

Pierce had a team-high 25 points, seven of which came in a decisive fourth quarter surge.

But as Milwaukee adjusted to defending Pierce down the stretch, they had no answer for his teammates - specifically, Kevin Garnett and Jeff Green.

Yeah, that Jeff Green.

He had a season-high 12 points along with a slew of strong plays defensively. Garnett was solid as well, finishing with 18 points and six rebounds which included some clutch baskets down the stretch.

The Celtics (3-3) opened the third quarter with one of their best stretches of play at both ends of the floor, resulting in a 12-2 run that put them ahead, 51-44.

But a strong surge not followed by a slump of some kind just wouldn't be the Boston Celtics this year, would it?

Milwaukee responded with a 9-2 run of their own to tie the score at 53.

Following an offensive foul against Brandon Bass, the Bucks regained the lead on jumper by Illyasova.

The two teams went back and fourth for the rest of the game, with neither team showing any signs of pulling away.

But as the game got tighter down the stretch, Boston managed to do what Celtics teams in past years have done, and that's come up with just enough plays to squeak out what was a much-needed victory.