Celtics finally tune out Jazz in OT, 110-107

Celtics finally tune out Jazz in OT, 110-107
February 25, 2013, 11:45 pm
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SALT LAKE CITY — Avery Bradley was having a great night for the Boston Celtics.

Jason Terry and Chris Wilcox had played valuable minutes off the bench.

And Kevin Garnett was, well, Kevin Garnett.

But when the game mattered most - the final seconds - everyone at EnergySolutions Arena the knew the Celtics would turn to Paul Pierce.

The Captain couldn't come through in regulation, but he more than made up for it in overtime in leading the C's to a 110-107 win.

Boston's Courtney Lee made a pair of free throws with 1.2 seconds to play that at worst, positioned the Celtics for a second overtime.

Following a Utah time-out, a desperation heave beyond the 3-point line by Randy Foye was well short of the rim as time expired.

Pierce finished with a team-high 26 points with seven coming in overtime.

With the win, Boston (30-27) ends what has been a disappointing road trip on a high note with the Celtics having won two of their last three games.

As important as Pierce, Bradley and company were in keeping the Celtics afloat, it was Utah's Gordon Hayward that breathed life into the Jazz.

Gordon, who apparently is still on the mend from a shoulder injury, came off bench to score a team-high 26 points with an array of jumpers, driving lay-ups and 3-pointers.

He positioned the Jazz to lead most of the night.

After a 3-point play by Brandon Bass tied the game at 84, Pierce later put the C's ahead 87-85.

Utah tied the game at 87, only for Pierce to put the C's back on top with a pair of free throws, 89-87, with 6:16 to play.

Both teams went back and fourth early in the first, with Bradley carrying the scoring load by scoring Boston's first six points, eight of their first 11 and 10 of the team's first 15.

His scoring was needed to counter a strong start by Paul Millsap who had eight points in less than seven minutes of action.

As the quarter wore on, the C's bench seemed ready to provide a much-needed energy lift.

Sparking their play was Jason Terry, whose three-point, two-rebound, one-assist performance in the first quarter did not do justice to the impact his presence made on the game.

But the Jazz haven't been one of the best teams at home all these years simply by having an arena full of fans cheering them on.

They have multiple weapons who can impact the game in many ways, including Hayward who is one of Doc Rivers' favorite players.

"My staff laughs, they say I have a man crush (on Hayward)," Rivers said prior to the game. "I just like the way he plays. He's a rugged kid, with skill and IQ. He's athletic. He's a terrific player."

And it didn't take Hayward to back up all Rivers' compliments with a strong showing off the Utah bench.

Boston pulled ahead by as many as seven points in the second quarter before a 3-pointer by Hayward sparked a 17-2 Jazz run to them ahead 44-36.

The Celtics managed to string together a slew of defensive stops with a few timely baskets to tie the game at 44.

As was the case in Boston's loss at Portland on Sunday, the C's struggled to close out quarters again.

With the score tied at 44 with 1:59 to play in the half, Utah finished the second quarter with a 9-4 spurt to lead, 53-48 at the half.