Pierce, who scored just five points on 1-of-8 shooting in the
first half, scored 14 of his 25 in the fourth quarter to lead the
Celtics to a 103-96 win over the Timberwolves on Wednesday night.
Pierce scored 11 consecutive points for the Celtics to spark a
13-2 run spanning the third and fourth quarters and help the
Celtics turn a seven-point deficit into a four-point lead. Boston
outscored Minnesota 34-23 in the fourth quarter.
"They played well when they had to," Garnett said. "Paul
Pierce is the best in the business when it comes to hitting
The Celtics trailed by as many as 14 early in the second quarter
and 55-46 at halftime but chipped away at the lead.
Delonte West scored Boston's first eight points of the second
half to keep the game close. Then Pierce took over.
Pierce gave the Celtics their first lead since early in the
first quarter when he completed a three-point play 51 seconds into
the fourth. He drove to the right side of the hoop, made a tough
layup in traffic while being fouled by Trenton Hassell. The ensuing
free throw made it 74-73.
The next time down the floor, Pierce nailed a 3-pointer to
extend the Celtics' lead to 77-73.
"With the lineup we had out there, I was looking to just be
aggressive," said Pierce, who also had eight rebounds in the win.
"I had some drives to the lane, a couple 3s, tried to get it
inside. Just tried to make sure we ran our stuff and got the shots
Minnesota built its lead back up to 82-79, but Al Jefferson
scored six of his eight fourth-quarter points during a 12-2 run
late in the period to ice it for the Celtics, who snapped a
two-game losing streak and won for just the second time in seven
Garnett had 29 points and 13 rebounds but managed just two
points while going 0-for-5 in the fourth while being double-teamed
by Jefferson and Kendrick Perkins.
Jefferson finished with 18 points and eight rebounds and Perkins
added 17 points and six rebounds for the Celtics, who matched a
franchise record by committing just five turnovers.
Wally Szczerbiak scored 22 points and Hassell had a season-high
18 for the Timberwolves, whose three-game winning streak came to a
Garnett scored 13 first-quarter points and helped Minnesota end
the quarter on a 14-2 run. He scored seven during that stretch,
including a 35-footer at the buzzer that put the Timberwolves up
The Timberwolves led by as many as 14 early in the second
quarter but the Celtics chipped away at the lead, pulling to within
seven on three occasions.
"We had an opportunity to extend the lead but didn't come up
with making the play," Minnesota coach Dwane Casey said. "We had
open shots, guys were wide open but you've got to be able to make
Al Jefferson tipped in a rebound with 52.1 seconds remaining in
the half to make it 53-46, but Hassell made a 5-foot fadeaway at
the buzzer to extend Minnesota's lead to nine.
West had 14 points, five rebounds and three assists for the
Celtics, who outscored the Timberwolves 57-41 in the second half.
Garnett was named Western Conference Player of the Week for
games played Jan. 9-15. He averaged 24.3 points, 14.0 rebounds and
6.3 assists for the week...Garnett became just the sixth player in
NBA history to record 16,000 points, 9,000 rebounds and 3,500
assists for his career. Wilt Chamberlain, Elgin Baylor, Charles
Barkley, Kareem Abdul Jabbar and Karl Malone are the
others...Hassell eclipsed his previous season high of 14 points by