By A.Sherrod Blakely
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.