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Pierce has huge third quarter as Celtics top Bucks

Nov 26, 2006 - 4:43 AM MILWAUKEE (Ticker) -- After each basket by Paul Pierce, the boos got louder at the Bradley Center.

Pierce scored 16 of his 36 points in the decisive third quarter and Wally Szczerbiak added 21 as Boston Celtics erased a 14-point deficit for a 111-98 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks.

Ryan Gomes had 15 points and eight rebounds for the Celtics, who shot 55 percent (39-of-71) from the field in just their second road win of the season.

Boston coach Doc Rivers pointed to his team's defensive intensity as a catalyst for success.

"They had 38 points in the second half and it was really all about our defense," Rivers said. "In the second half, we got stops and were able to push the action."

Trailing, 60-46, at halftime, Boston outscored Milwaukee, 37-20, in the third period. Pierce shot 6-of-7 - including two 3-pointers - in the quarter as the crowd grew upset with the home team, which has lost eight of its last 10 contests.

"I'm happy about the way our guys came out and didn't back down," Pierce said. "We came back fighting to get that win. We're trying to build off of any momentum we can right now."

Pierce came into the game leading the Celtics in scoring (26.6) and rebounding (9.2). The All-Star swingman continued his stellar play, shooting 10-of-15 from the floor and 12-of-15 from the line with seven rebounds and seven assists.

"We wanted to attack, but we realized in the first quarter our turnovers killed us," Pierce said. "In the second half, we came out and played with more confidence and valued every possession."

Pierce had the defensive assignment against Michael Redd, the NBA's third-leading scorer (29.7), who had 24 points on Saturday.

"It just takes focus," Pierce said. "(Redd) runs all over the place and I knew I was going to have to spend a lot of energy defending him, but I also knew I had a lot of responsibility on the offensive end."

"Pierce did a really good job," Rivers said. "We were concerned that he was going to expend all his energy on (the defensive) end of the floor and I think that happened a bit in the first half."

Szczerbiak shot 6-of-9 from the field and hit all eight free throws.

Andrew Bogut scored 18 points for the Bucks, who shot 49 percent (37-of-76) and were outrebounded, 39-33.

"At some point, we've got to learn to play consistently, rather than playing hard when we're down twenty or playing hard to (catch) up," Milwaukee coach Terry Stotts. "It's a matter of playing with the same energy, the same emotion, the same execution. We had that coming out of the locker room at halftime and when we're up, we don't seem to play the same way that got us up."

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