Pavlovic's big second half helps Celtics in win

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Pavlovic's big second half helps Celtics in win

BOSTON -- Like the rest of the Boston Celtics, Sasha Pavlovic started out cold in the first half of Tuesdays win over the Miami Heat.

Pavlovic, who started at the shooting guard spot on a shorthanded team, shot 0-for-2 from the field in six minutes through two quarters.

I started kind of slow in the first half, he said (Head coach) Doc (Rivers) was on me about that. He told me just to play. I took a couple bad shots in the first half. I just came out in the second half and played as hard as I could defensively, and whenever I had an open shot I just took it.

Pavlovic scored four points (2-2 FG) in four minutes during the third quarter as the Celtics began to climb back from a 34-28 halftime deficit. His layup with less than 30 seconds left in the quarter gave the Celtics a 50-48 lead, their first since 7:49 to play in the first half.

Enter the fourth quarter, when Pavlovic went on an offensive spree. He scored 12 of the Celtics 28 fourth-quarter points off of five-for-six shooting from the field (including a pair of three-pointers) in a span of six minutes. The entire Heat team scored just 16 points in the entire final quarter.

Pavlovic said he was given the green light by Rivers to shoot the ball whenever he was open.

That was huge for Sasha, said Rivers. Especially in the fact that Sasha really struggled in the first half and then he came in the second half and played terrific.

Pavlovic finished with a game-high 16 points in 23 minutes on a night when Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Mickael Pietrus, and Greg Stiemsma did not play.

Looking ahead to the playoffs this weekend, Pavlovic says he will fill whatever need the Celtics have in a given game.

Ive always told you, Im just going to get out there and play as hard as I can defensively, he said. I know we are down a couple guys, but at playoffs its not going to be like that. So I just get out there and play my role, whatever it is that night.

Highlights: Devin Booker puts up 70 points but Celtics get the win

Highlights: Devin Booker puts up 70 points but Celtics get the win

Highlights from the TD Garden as Devin Booker had a historic performance where he scored 70 points, but it wasn't enough to get the win over the Celtics.

Thomas on Suns: 'We’re worried about the playoffs; they’re worried about the lottery'

Thomas on Suns: 'We’re worried about the playoffs; they’re worried about the lottery'

BOSTON – Stacking wins on top of wins is the mindset of the Boston Celtics right now, so the players who did speak to the media following Friday’s 130-120 win over Phoenix drove that point home emphatically.

But inside the locker room, it was unusually quiet, the kind of silence you expect following a loss.

Considering how the Celtics’ defense was absolutely thrashed by Devin Booker’s franchise record 70 points, there’s no question at a minimum the Celtics’ pride overall was stung.

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And when Suns coach Earl Watson began calling time-outs and having his team commit fouls at the end of the game, there’s no question it rubbed a few Celtics the wrong way.

“I don’t think anybody has ever seen that; continuing to call time-outs, continuing to foul when we are up 15. But I mean, it was obvious what they were trying to do. They were trying to get him (Booker) the most points possible. Hat off to to him (Booker). He played a hell of a game.”

Following the game, Watson defended his late-game decision making.

“Calling time-outs at the end kept the game close,” he said. “It’s basketball; I’m not coming to any arena to be liked. If people don’t like us while we build … so what? Do something about it.”

The Suns (22-51) never came any closer than 10 points, which was the final score margin.

Al Horford acknowledged that there was some aggravation following the game.

“You can be frustrated when somebody is doing that to you,” he said. “It’s not to one guy, it’s to the team so I think we’re probably more aggravated at ourselves, at least personally I feel that way. I probably could have done a little better, maybe done some different things to prevent it. We got to give him credit, 70 points, I don’t care it’s 70, he got 70. It’s impressive.”

But there will be some inside the Celtics locker room and among their fan base, who were bothered by the Suns’ late-game actions which seemed more focused on Booker getting numbers than anything else.

When asked about being disrespected by the Suns’ late-game strategy, Thomas wanted no part of that conversation.

“It is what it is,” Thomas said. “We won the game. We’re worried about the playoffs; they’re worried about the lottery.”

 Boom!