Boston Celtics

Pierce turns it up in the fourth quarter

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Pierce turns it up in the fourth quarter

By A.Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com

MINNEAPOLIS Paul Pierce was having another one of those nights.

Shot after shot, rimmed in, then out.

But as the Minnesota Timberwolves continued to make it a game, Pierce once again proved he's one of the best fourth-quarter closers in the game in leading the Celtics to an 85-82 win over the Timberwolves.

Pierce finished with a team-high 23 points, 12 of which came in the decisive fourth quarter.

"My shot wasn't really falling for me, but I just wanted to be more aggressive, going to the basket," he said.

Boston led by as many as 25 points, only to see its dominance wiped out by a flurry of points from the Timberwolves, which included a lay-up by Darko Milicic that put Minnesota ahead, 70-68, with 8:07 to play.

On the ensuing Celtics possession, Glen Davis missed an 18-foot jumper that was rebounded by Kevin Garnett.

Garnett got the ball into Pierce's hands.

The Captain delivered a 3-pointer to put the Celtics back on top.

Later in the fourth, Minnesota's Anthony Tolliver connected on a 3-pointer that gave the Timberwolves a 73-72 lead with 5:05 to play.

Pierce once again responded for the C's, converting an old fashioned 3-point play that gave the Celtics a 75-73 lead that they would not relinquish.

"If the shot was there, I'd take it," Pierce said. "I just wanted to be more aggressive than I was throughout the game. I wasn't worried about the shots I missed, because I thought they were good shots."

Despite Pierce's early shooting woes, coach Doc Rivers had no problem with Pierce taking over the game and delivering some clutch points down the stretch either from the field or free throw line.

"I told Paul after the game, he had to at some point because he couldn't make a shot," Rivers said. "He was getting great shots."

But Pierce is, as Rivers coined him, a professional scorer.

So there wasn't going to be a point in which he didn't feel his scoring touch would return.

Fortunately for Boston, it came back in time for a much-needed road win.

"Eventually some will fall," Pierce said.

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached atsblakely@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

Photo of Celtics' 1963 White House visit recalls a simpler time

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Photo of Celtics' 1963 White House visit recalls a simpler time

As the controversy raged Saturday over President Donald Trump's tweet rescinding the White House invitation to Golden State Warriors' star Stephen Curry, a tweeted photo recalling a simpler time for sports team's presidential visits appeared. 

The nostalgic Twitter account @the_60s_at_50 posted a photo from the Celtics' visit to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave and its principal occupant, John F. Kennedy, on Jan. 31, 1963. JFK had invited his hometown NBA team into the Oval Office for what seemed to be a spur-of-the-moment visit.

A newspaper account of the visit was also posted. The defending NBA champion Celtics were in the Washington area to play the Cincinnati Royals at the University of Maryland's Cole Field House that night and had been taking a tour of the White House when Kennedy invited them in. 

All the team members were there except for star center Bill Russell, who, of course, experienced incidents of racism in Boston that were well-documented. However, Russell's absence was blamed on him oversleeping. His teammates said they didn't know they would meet Kennedy on the tour.  

And yes, that's Celtics legend - and CSN's own - Tommy Heinsohn second from right. Coach Red Auerbach is next to the President on the left, Bob Cousy is next to Auerbach and John Havlicek is the first player in the second row on the left.