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Pierce's game-winning shot lifts Celtics over Nets

Dec 10, 2006 - 3:37 AM EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey (Ticker) -- The best game of Al Jefferson's career was upstaged by Paul Pierce.

Pierce drained the game-winning 22-footer as time expired to give the Boston Celtics a 92-90 triumph over the New Jersey Nets that ended a five-game slide.

Jefferson registered career highs of 29 points and 14 rebounds. The 6-10 forward connected on 12-of-19 shots and had two steals.

"A lot of my shots were falling," Jefferson said. "I was getting more and more confident and everything just worked out for us."

"Jefferson was getting to where he wanted and he had a great game," Nets coach Lawrence Frank said.

The contest was tied at 87-87 before Jefferson converted a three-point play with 1:42 remaining. But Vince Carter's one-handed floater in the lane tied the game again 60 seconds later.

Following a missed 3-pointer by Eddie House, the Celtics went to Pierce, who had made just three of his first 17 shots.

Guarded closely by Jason Kidd, the All-Star swingman connected on a deep high-arcing fadeaway jumper from near the arc that silenced Continental Airlines Arena.

"I knew I was going to get it off because I had a smaller guy on me," Pierce said. "I got to my sweet spot, elevated and took the shot."

"I could have fouled him. I thought he was going left and I tried to get my hand in his vision," Kidd said. "When I turned around, it (the ball) was right on line. He made the shot and you just have to tip your hat off to him. It was not a gimme, but it should have never come down to that. We thought we had it under control."

Pierce scored 17 points and Delonte West chipped in 16 off the bench for Boston, which shot 38 percent (31-of-80) from the floor.

"I thought our bench came in and turned the game around," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. "I thought that was the difference in the game."

Nenad Krstic scored 20 points and Carter contributed 19 and 11 rebounds for New Jersey, which shot 42 percent (33-of-78).

The Nets fell to 1-3 on their current six-game homestand, including a 161-157 double-overtime loss to Phoenix on Thursday which was perhaps the most exciting game this season.

"In this league, sometimes they go in, sometimes they don't," said Kidd, who scored just five points. "We just got to stay together, be positive, just fight through this."

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