Paul Pierce is en fuego. Somebody call the fire department because this guy is scorching everybody. Tonight the Boston Celtics captain had 34 points and led yet another comeback as the Green took down the previously unbeaten Atlanta Hawks 103-102 at the TD Banknorth Garden on Wednesday night.
After yet another slow start that saw the Celtics yield 31 first quarter points to the young, upstart Hawks and fall behind by 16 points with 6 minutes left in the first half Boston decided enough was enough. In the final six minutes of the half the C’s went on a 23-7 run to send the game to the intermission tied at 51-51.
The second half was a see-saw affair that saw the team’s pretty much trade baskets and small leads. There were 20 lead changes in the game, most in the final two quarters as Atlanta led by no more than 3 and Boston by no more than 4 and that was with less than 2 minutes to play.
After the Hawks (6-1) came back from being down 99-95 to take a 102-101 lead the Celtics put the ball in Piece’s hands and as the clock ticked down the games final seconds Pierce hit a turning fade away jumper just inside the three point line over Al Horford to give Boston (8-1) a 103-102 lead with 0.05 left on the clock. After an Atlanta timeout they tried to inbound the ball for a last chance attempt but some good pressure by Kevin Garnett on the inbounder resulted in a not so stellar pass that got away as the horn sounded.
In addition to Pierce who had 34 points, Kevin Garnett had a double-double with 25 points and 12 boards and Ray Allen chipped in 17 points, 15 of which came in the first half.
Atlanta put 5 players in double figures as Joe Johnson had 28 points, Mike Bibby put up 16, Marvin Williams and Flip Murray each had 14 and Maurice Evans added 13 points in the loss.
The Celtics come back to the home court Friday night against newly acquired Chauncy Billups and the Denver Nuggets.