OFFSEASON

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

OFFSEASON

Who will make the Celtics roster?

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Who will make the Celtics roster?

BOSTON – Regardless of what the Celtics do in the offseason, there will always be position battles in training camp.

But when the players arrive in a few weeks, a handful will have more at stake than just a roster spot.

Boston currently has 18 players with full or partially guaranteed contracts, a number that has to be pared down to 15 or less by the time the regular season begins.

The math is pretty cut and dry. Barring a trade, at least three players have to be let go.

But who will they be?

That’s for Brad Stevens and the rest of the Celtics brass to figure out.

In the meantime, here’s a look at five Celtics who, barring a trade, are likely to be among the pool of players Boston will be picking from for what should be the last couple of roster spots.

OFFSEASON

Boston Celtics announce 2016 preseason schedule

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Boston Celtics announce 2016 preseason schedule

New England fans will get their first glimpse at the 2016-2017 Boston Celtics when they kick off their preseason schedule on October 4 against the Philadelphia 76ers at UMass-Amherst’s Mullins Center.

That game will feature two of the top three picks in last month’s draft as Ben Simmons, the top overall pick, will face Jaylen Brown, who was drafted by the Celtics with the third overall pick.

Boston’s 7-game schedule features no back-to-back games, but they do face the Charlotte Hornets in their second and third preseason games on Oct. 6 (in Greensboro, N.C.) and Oct. 8 at Mohegan Sun Arena.

Here’s a look at Boston’s full preseason schedule:

DATE               OPPONENT                  LOCATION                                                        TIME
Oct. 4               Philadelphia 76ers         UMass-Amherst Mullins Center (Amherst, MA)     7:00 p.m. ET
Oct. 6               Charlotte Hornets          Greensboro Coliseum (Greensboro, NC)             7:30 p.m. ET
Oct. 8               Charlotte Hornets          Mohegan Sun Arena (Uncasville, CT)                  3:30 p.m. ET
Oct. 13             Brooklyn Nets               Barclays Center (Brooklyn, NY)                          7:30 p.m. ET
Oct. 15             New York Knicks           Madison Square Garden (New York, NY)             7:30 p.m. ET
Oct. 17             Brooklyn Nets               TD Garden (Boston, MA)                                   7:30 p.m. ET
Oct. 19             New York Knicks           TD Garden (Boston, MA)                                   7:30 p.m. ET