Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 2)

Series starts 11/11

Game 1: Monday, November 11th
Game 2: Monday, March 24th

Jazz 95


Celtics 112

(5-2, 2-1 home)

    Coverage: FSRM

    7:00 PM ET, November 11, 2002

    TD Garden, Boston, MA

    1 2 3 4 T
    UTAH 14 31 28 2295
    BOS 29 12 41 30112

    Top Performers

    UTAH: K. Malone 20 Pts, 6 Reb, 1 Ast, 2 Stl

    Bos: P. Pierce 35 Pts, 7 Reb, 9 Ast, 3 Stl, 3 Blk

    Pierce scores 27 of his 35 in second half

    BOSTON (AP) -- Paul Pierce is helping his Celtics teammates do what he does best -- score points.

    Antoine Walker

    Paul Pierce

    Pierce led Boston with 35 points and had nine assists as the Celtics used defense and the 3-point shot to beat the Utah Jazz 112-95 Monday night.

    ''I know the focus of the defense most of the time is going to be on me,'' Pierce said. ''If I can find open men, it's going to open things up for me.''

    The Celtics were 10-for-29 on 3-point shots, and six of those baskets came on assists from Pierce after defenders collapsed on him. They were 9-for-17 in the second half when Tony Delk and Shammond Williams each went 3-for-4.

    Antoine Walker's 27 points included three 3-pointers as Boston won its fifth straight game after losing its other two.

    ''Everybody stepped up and made big shots when they had to,'' Walker said. ''We came out in the third quarter a little bit more aggressive going to the basket and then we exploded.''

    Utah was led by Karl Malone with 20 points and Matt Harpring and Scott Padgett with 15 each as it lost its fourth straight road game and fifth game in its last six.

    The Celtics have progressed since a 114-69 loss to Washington in their second game, the biggest setback in club history.

    On Monday night, Boston squandered a 17-point first-quarter lead and trailed 45-41 at halftime. But the Celtics took control with an 11-0 run in the third quarter that made it 63-52. Delk hit two 3-pointers in the surge, both on passes from Pierce, who led the Celtics in assists for the fourth time in seven games.

    ''When they are all on, it's tough,'' Harpring said. ''We tried to make the other guys (than Pierce and Walker) beat us, but we didn't limit easy shots.''

    The Jazz didn't handle the ball very well either, committing 29 turnovers that led to 37 points.

    ''In a situation like this, everybody wants to blame someone else, but I had four (turnovers) myself,'' Malone said.

    In the third quarter, the Celtics started connecting. That kept the Jazz from scoring off Boston misses, which had allowed them to go ahead in the second quarter. Boston made 62.5 percent of its shots in the second half.

    The Celtics hit five 3-pointers in the third quarter and four in the fourth. Pierce scored 27 points in the second half after making just 2-of-6 shots in the first. He also finished with three blocks, three steals, seven rebounds and two turnovers in 35 minutes.

    ''I was kind of burning up inside'' at halftime, Pierce said. ''No way should we give up a 17-point lead. I just wanted to make up for it in the second half.''

    Pierce scored Boston's first seven points of the fourth quarter. The closest Utah came in the period was 87-80 before Pierce hit a field goal and Walker sank two 3-pointers for a 95-80 lead with 8:14 to go.

    The Celtics had led 29-12 with 32 seconds left in the first quarter as Utah made just four field goals. The last, a layup by Harpring, made it 29-14. But Utah outscored them 31-12 in the second with all its points coming from substitutes Harpring, Padgett and Calbert Cheaney.

    But Boston matched its halftime total in the third quarter alone, outscoring Utah 41-28 to take an 82-73 lead. Pierce had 15 points in the quarter and Delk made three 3-pointers.

    Game notes

    Mike Gorman and Tommy Heinsohn announced their 1,000th televised Celtics game. Former Celtic Bill Walton spoke at a brief halftime ceremony. Tributes played on the video screen included one from Gov.-elect Mitt Romney, who headed the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City, the home of the Jazz. ... Utah opened a five-game road trip and plays at New York on Tuesday night. ... Boston's next two games are at home against Philadelphia and Dallas.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 95 112
    FGM-FGA 32-63 (.508) 41-85 (.482)
    3PM-3PA 6-13 (.462) 10-29 (.345)
    FTM-FTA 25-39 (.641) 20-23 (.870)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 7-37 10-34
    Assists 25 28
    Turnovers 29 18
    Steals 9 19
    Blocks 7 5
    Fast Break Points 7 4
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 22 (2/0) 28 (2/0)

    Top Performers

    Karl Malone Malone
    Points: 20
    Reb: 6
    Ast: 1
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 0
    Paul Pierce Pierce
    Points: 35
    Reb: 7
    Ast: 9
    Stl: 3
    Blk: 3