THE FACTS: Playing their fifth road game in seven nights and against a team that's pretty decent on its home floor, the Boston Celtics had the deck stacked against them. That's why Boston coach Doc Rivers called it their best win of the year.
Paul Pierce had 26 points and Avery Bradley scored a season-high 18 points as the Celtics overcame the Utah Jazz 110-107 in overtime on Monday night. Kevin Garnett had 13 points and 10 rebounds while doing most of his damage in the second half for Boston (30-27). He had 10 points and nine boards after halftime to help Boston to its fifth straight victory over Utah (31-26). Gordon Hayward had 26 points to lead the Jazz, who fell to 2-1 in overtime games this season.
QUOTABLE: "They got a lot of heart. It says a lot of good things. This is just a gut-check win for us. I mean, we are on fumes and hung in there, and hung in there and hung in there. It says a lot about this group."
-- Boston coach Doc Rivers
THE STAT: For the second straight game, the Jazz played terribly in the third quarter. They were outscored 32-19 by the Celtics in the third period, and then had to play catch up in the fourth quarter. Boston shot 59.1 percent while holding to Utah to 31.3 percent shooting in the third quarter. The Jazz seemingly had a shot at blowing the game open as the Celtics closed their road trip, but were flat after halftime and it cost them. Utah was outscored by the Los Angeles Clippers, 36-20, in the third quarter of a loss on Saturday night.
TURNING POINT: Pierce took over in overtime. His 3-pointer with 2:27 remaining gave the Celtics a lead they wouldn't relinquish at 102-101. He added a couple mid-range jumpers to put Boston up 106-101 with 1:12 remaining. Garnett was the only other Celtics player to score in overtime until Courtney Lee made two free throws with 1.2 seconds remaining. Garnett had four points in overtime.
HOT: Pierce was streaky against Utah, and when he was at his best the Jazz couldn't stop him. He scored seven of his points as the Celtics took over in the third quarter. He made a jumper with 36.6 seconds remaining in regulation to give the Celtics a 97-95 lead. Lee was outstanding after halftime, scoring 13 of his 14 points in the second half. For the Jazz, Hayward, playing in his third game back after a 10-game absence because of a right shoulder sprain, gave the team 36 valuable minutes off the bench. He is averaging 22 points in his last three games.
NOT: It was a forgettable night for Utah's Derrick Favors. In the first half he had three fouls, two turnovers, two rebounds and zero points. He picked up his fifth foul with 5:04 left in the game. It came on offense, and was an unnecessary foul on Garnett. The Jazz were in the penalty and Garnett then sank two foul shots to put Boston up 93-91. Favors finished with seven points and six rebounds. Paul Millsap, after shooting a perfect 6-for-6 in the first half, was 1-for-6 with four points in the second half. Randy Foye shot 2-for-8 with a miss as time expired in overtime. He played just 5:22 in the second half.
QUOTABLE II: "We knew this was probably going to be the toughest game for us physically and mentally, talking about a long trip, coming in to one of the toughest places to play. We felt we could kind of salvage this trip with a win here. So guys did a good job of just being mentally tough, digging in and doing what we to do to get the win.."
--Celtics forward Paul Pierce
GOOD MOVE: Bradley got the Celtics off to a great start while the rest of the team was getting their legs under them. Bradley, who came into Monday's game averaging 8.9 points per game, had 10 points on 5-for-6 shooting in the first quarter. He simply had his way against an overmatched Earl Watson, who replaced Jamaal Tinsley in Utah's starting lineup. He also anchored Boston's defense early in the contest and helped keep the Jazz out of rhythm.
BAD MOVE: Rivers and the Celtics had all the answers for slowing the Jazz down in the second half -- even if their plans didn't work to perfection. Boston's zone defense gave Utah trouble in the third quarter. It also utilized a trap that helped junk the game up. The trap the Celtics employed in the second half wasn't what was drawn up in the locker room at halftime, but it was effective as Boston held Utah to 37.8 percent shooting after the break. The Celtics' trap helped keep the Jazz from posting -- their bread and butter -- on offense. Rivers joked that the defense was ugly, and because the Celtics didn't know what they were doing, it confused both teams.
NOTABLE: It was Boston's 10th overtime game of the season. The Celtics are 6-4 in those contests. ... Boston closed its five-game road trip with a 2-3 record. It was the Celtics' second road win against a Western Conference opponent this season. ...Tinsley did not play at all after being removed from the starting lineup. ... Al Jefferson had a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds, but it wasn't enough for him to exorcise his demons against Boston. He was drafted 15th overall by the Celtics in 2004 and played there until 2007. Since leaving the franchise, he is 0-11 against them as a member of the Jazz and Minnesota Timberwolves.
UP NEXT: For the Celtics, Friday vs. Warriors, March 5 @ Philadelphia, March 6 @ Indiana. For the Jazz, Wednesday vs. Hawks, Friday vs. Bobcats, Monday @ Milwaukee.