THE FACTS: Paul Pierce scored 23 points as the Celtics overcame an injury to All-Star point guard Rajon Rondo to defeat the Utah Jazz 98-93 for their third straight victory. Rondo exited the game in the third quarter after rolling his right ankle on a layup attempt, but the Celtics' bench picked up the slack in his absence. Leandro Barbosa and Jeff Green keyed the second unit with 16 points each, as Boston reserves combined to score 47 of the team's 96 points during the hard fought win. Paul Millsap posted 20 points and 12 rebounds for the Jazz, as they dropped to 1-5 on the road.
QUOTABLE: "Our whole bench gave us a big lift tonight. It was a big win, they really helped carry us through this game."
THE STAT: Boston turned the ball over just twice in the second half, despite missing the services of Rondo for the final 17 minutes of the contest.
TURNING POINT: Green, who has struggled on the offensive end for Boston early this season, scored his loudest two points of the season for the Celtics with an emphatic dunk over Al Jefferson with 7:13 remaining in the fourth quarter. The explosive move brought the TD Garden alive and pushed Boston's lead to six. The Celtics rode that momentum over the game's final moments to hold off the feisty Jazz.
QUOTABLE II: "The difference between the Celtics and us right now, they know how to seal the game. That's where we have to get to. Playing these type of teams it's going to help us get there, now we know what to do."
HOT: Barbosa, the late-offseason addition to the Celtics' roster, has provided the team with a big offensive spark. Despite knowing just a few of the team's offensive sets, Barbosa attacked the basket early and often in the pick-and-roll, scoring 16 points in a mere 22 minutes of action, on 6-of-8 shooting.
NOT: Mo Williams, Utah's leading scorer, struggled with his shot in the second half, hitting just 2-of-11 field goals over the final 24 minutes, including all five attempts in the fourth quarter.
FANTASY SPOTLIGHT: Jefferson, the former Celtic, posted his third straight double-double, and his fifth overall on the season with 13 points and 14 rebounds. Through nine games, Jefferson is averaging 15.7 points and 11.5 rebounds a game.
ROOKIE WATCH: Jared Sullinger: The power forward continues to get comfortable in his new role coming off the bench. The 22-year-old made his only shot and grabbed two rebounds in 15 minutes of action.
NOTABLE: Rondo is day-to-day with a sprained right ankle. Despite the injury, Rondo dished out 10 assists beforehand, making it the 32nd straight game with 10 or more assists. Reserve guard Earl Watson rejoined his Utah teammates in Boston after being granted medical clearance for on-court activities. Watson had spent the past six months recovering from knee surgery. He hopes to make his season debut within the next week. Jefferson is now 0-10 against the Celtics in his career since being traded by them to Minnesota in 2007. Boston has won three straight games and five of their last six overall after starting the season 0-2. Pierce scored 15 of his 23 points in the third quarter. Utah outrebounded Boston 18-4 on the offensive glass.
UP NEXT: For Utah, Friday @ Philadelphia, Saturday @ Washington, Monday vs. Houston. For Boston, Thursday @ Brooklyn, Saturday vs. Toronto, Sunday @ Detroit.