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In what was becoming a terrible Sunday for Boston sports fans (the Bruins 1-0 loss to the Rangers, Yankees now up 3-1 in the World Series), the Celtics managed to salvage a game against the Hornets as well as the weekend. Boston’s performance was nothing flashy but adjustments down the stretch allowed the Celtics pulled out a 97-87 win against the Hornets.
After Paul Pierce scored 20 of his game-high 27, in the first half, the C’s took a nine-point lead into the locker room. With a little over five minutes remaining in the third, the lead ballooned to 12 and it looked like the Celtics were well on their way to another blowout victory in the Garden.
Hornets point guard Chris Paul had different ideas. In the final five minutes of the quarter, the fourth year pro scored 12 of his 22 points, slicing the Celtics’ lead to three. Paul nearly tied the game with a three-quarter-court shot, but he released the shot just after the third quarter buzzer sounded.
New Orleans carried that momentum into the fourth quarter. Peja Stojakovic led the charge as Pierce didn’t have an answer for him defensively, especially from long range. The New Orleans shooting guard shot 6-of-10 from deep, helping the Hornets to shoot 46 percent (13-of-28) from deep.
Stojakovic scored 11 straight points to open the quarter and with four minutes left in the game the Celtics lead stood at three.
From that point on, the Celtics clamped down on defense.
New Orleans managed to hit one field goal the final four minutes. On the other side of the ball, the Celtics’ stars stepped up. Pierce scored five points during the same four minutes after just hitting just two free throws the entire third quarter.
Kevin Garnett made his presence felt in a not so typical KG fashion. In the final four minutes Garnett, dished three dimes to seal the Celts fourth victory of the season. Garnett finished with 14 points, seven rebounds, and five assists.
The Celtics are off Monday but play back-to-back road games Tuesday and Wednesday in Philadelphia and Minnesota respectively.