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The Celtics and the Nuggets threw their collective hat into the ring for the game of the year in the NBA Sunday night. There were key missed free throws, improbable three’s, controversial calls, and three overtimes.
Paul Pierce had 27 points, 14 rebounds and 14 assists as the Celtics extended their winning streak to seven games and ended the Denver Nuggets streak at nine in a thrilling, 118-114, triple-overtime victory. From the outset this was a high octane game with the tension and thrills on par with America’s best Jackpot Capital. Nail-biting action, edge of the seat tension and ultimate euphoria for some folk, what a game!
The Celtics trailed by three with 18 seconds to go in the second overtime when Pierce stepped up and drilled a desperation three to keep the Celtics’ winning streak alive. In overtime number three, Jason Terry was the hero. Terry hit a key three, snatched a key steal, and leaked out down the court for a breakaway layup as time expired.
Terry finished with 26 points in 43 minutes of playing time. Kevin Garnett finished with 20 points and 18 rebounds, while Jeff Green added 17 points. Ty Lawson led the Nuggets with 29 points, 9 assists and 6 rebounds.
With the Celtics clinging to a two point lead with five seconds to play in regulation, Kenneth Faried went to line with a chance to tie the game. Faried clanged both free throws but was able to get to the loose ball along with Andre Miller and Avery Bradley.
As the ball flew out of bounds, the baseline referee signaled that is was the Celtics ball, but after official review it was given to Denver with just under four seconds to play. Lawson drove past Bradley and layed it in to send the game into overtime.
The Celtics opened Sunday’s contest on a 12-0 run and looked to be on their way to a second straight rout, but the Nuggets would not go away. The Celtics led by four at the half and eight going into the fourth. The Celtics offense went stale in the fourth quarter on a night when they could have wrapped this one up early.
After playing a combined 101 minutes, Pierce and Garnett look to lead the Celtics to an eighth straight victory in Charlotte against the Bobcats tomorrow night.