The Boston Celtics needed an extra five minutes of basketball to knock off the Orlando Magic Thursday night in the Amway Center, but the C’s won the contest nonetheless. Their Big Three of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo were the men who made it happen.
Pierce was the player who nailed what may have been the biggest shot of the game. With the score all knotted up at 108-108, Garnett kicked a pass out to Pierce and the captain fired up a 25-foot 3-pointer that swished through the net. It was a no-doubter that put the C’s on top by three points with 2:10 remaining in overtime.
Some would contend that the next basket, scored by Rondo, was even more important. Rondo snagged a rebound off of a Glen Davis miss and took the ball down the center of the court in transition. As he did so, Pierce flanked out to the right wing and Jameer Nelson was the only defender between them and the basket. Nelson was standing in Rondo’s path to the hoop but inexplicably darted out to the right wing to break up a potential pass to Pierce. That decision left Rondo with a wide open, uncontested layup on the break that put Boston ahead by five points.
Rondo's layup gave the C’s a comfortable lead with just 97 seconds remaining in the extra session. Orlando did make it a one-possession game with its next bucket, but Garnett put the game in Boston’s back pocket with a free throw down the stretch.
This was an overtime session the Celtics would have preferred to avoid, but they found a way to win. When you have a trio like Garnett, Pierce and Rondo, that will happen more often than not.
Key Box Score Line
Take a look at Kevin Garnett’s recent game log. He just keeps getting better and better.
Garnett followed up Friday night’s 18-point, nine-rebound game against the Thunder with an even better performance Sunday night in Orlando. He dropped a game-high 24 points on the Magic to go along with 10 rebounds. Those numbers gave Garnett just his third double-double of the season.
The Big Ticket was solid in all aspects of the game. He made 10 of his season-high 17 shots and also chipped in an assist and two steals during the win.
Doc Rivers said Friday night that KG’s minute number is 32, and that if he exceeds that number Garnett might shut off. Garnett responded to that statement by logging a season-high 35:34 of playing time Sunday night that coincided with his best performance of the season.
Box Score Nuggets
- Three Celtics, Rajon Rondo, Kevin Garnett and Brandon Bass, logged double-doubles.
- Boston (105) attempted 15 more shots than the Magic (90).
- The Celtics outrebounded Orlando 51-42
- J.J. Redick led the Magic with 21 points off the bench.
- Orlando shot 11-of-26 from 3-point range.
- Boston's starters accounted for 12 of the team's 15 turnovers.
- Leandro Barbosa scored 15 points in less than 11 minutes of action.
- Rajon Rondo dished out 16 assists, just four less than the entire Magic team.
- Kevin Garnett led the game with 24 points and attempted a season-high 17 shots.
- All of Boston's starters finished with a positive plus/minus rating, led by Jason Terry's plus-16.
- Both teams attempted 19 free throws, with Orlando making 17 and Boston making 15.
- Jameer Nelson fouled out of the game in overtime and also committed a game-high five turnovers.
- Jared Sullinger put together another strong performance with 11 points and six rebounds off of the bench.
Quote of the Night
We let them back in the game so we had to find a way to win. That was what it was all about…finding a way to win. We were not feeling sorry for ourselves by giving up a pretty big lead. We had to grind it out. That is what we did. Paul Pierce on the adversity Boston faced Sunday night.