Final - OT
  for this game

Pierce, Celtics need OT to down Raptors

Jan 13, 2009 - 5:43 AM By Mike Petraglia PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

BOSTON (Ticker) -- Paul Pierce willed the battered and bruised Boston Celtics to a win on Monday night.

Playing on a sore right knee, the team's captain scored a season-high 39 points, including nine in overtime as the Celtics beat the Toronto Raptors, 115-109, at TD Banknorth Garden.

"Actually, I feel pretty good, could have played another quarter, I think. I'm feeling pretty good," Pierce said.

Kevin Garnett had 20 points and 12 rebounds for Boston, which blew a four-point lead in the final 25 seconds of regulation but rebounded with a team-record 22 points in the extra period.

It was Pierce who got the scoring underway in the overtime with a straightaway 3-pointer.

"Well, I hit the three as a result of ball movement," Pierce said. "I thought Kevin kept the ball alive and we swung it and I was just open for the shot. In overtime, it wasn't really about my aggressiveness, the couple shots I got were from ball movement, and I was able to knock them down."

"Ya'll need to start playing some of that Superman theme music in the building when he's going like that," Garnett said of his teammate. "This is Clark Kent right here, ladies and gentleman. He was 13-for-26 tonight with 39 points, nine rebounds and four assists. Superman. I'll be Batman, I'll be Robin, I'll be anybody you want me to be. I'll be the garbage man. But this is Clark Kent right here."

Celtics head coach Doc Rivers said he was only 50-50 on Pierce playing on Monday night because of his balky right knee.

"That's Paul," Rivers said. "That's what I was saying. There's players who play the game; there's players who absolutely love the game. Paul's one of those 'love' guys. First of all he's tough as nails, plus he has such a love for the game. He's able to play through pain because of the love for the game. And it's clear. I think there's a lot of guys who like playing and don't love it as much, and they miss games like this. Paul's not one of them. He rarely misses a practice."

"Doc's been around me long enough to know that it takes a lot to keep me off the court," Pierce added. "I was a little ginger but I was able to get some much needed rest last night. This morning I jumped in my chamber, hyperbaric chamber, I think that helps. I was just in there and I felt pretty good."

Brian Scalabrine came up big for the injured Kendrick Perkins, adding 11 points for the Celtics, who improved to 31-9 overall and 19-2 at home.

"I'm never surprised by what Paul does, ever," Scalabrine said. "You couldn't take him out even if you asked him to. Paul is a special player, everyone sees that on certain nights and he gives us anything we need."

Andrea Bargnani scored 23 points for Toronto, including a 3-pointer with one second remaining to send the game into the extra period.

Chris Bosh added 17 points for the Raptors, who were swept in the home-and-home series between the two clubs. Boston beat Toronto, 94-88, on Sunday night in Toronto.

"Pierce kind of got it going and Ray Allen makes a shot in overtime," Raptors head coach Jay Triano said.

"It's like we talked about before the game - guys with double figures years of experience in this league can kind of find a way to do it in a clutch time. They played very well in the overtime period and made shots when they had to, and we got a little bit behind and had to try to fight back."

Perkins did not dress for the second straight night as an injured left shoulder has knocked him out for the next week. Tony Allen is out with a sprained right ankle.

Pierce, battling a sore left knee, did manage to fight through the pain and lead the Celtics to an early 14-7 lead as he had seven first-quarter points.

But Toronto responded with a 10-1 run to get back in the game and led after one quarter, 23-17.

The Raptors continued their hot-shooting ways in the second, making 10-of-16 shots from the field to grab a 54-45 halftime lead.

Scalabrine got his second straight start for the Celtics, filling in for the injured Perkins at center. But he gave up several inches to the taller and faster Bosh, causing him to do his damage from the perimeter.

He connected on three 3-pointers, including two in the third quarter, to help the Celtics overcome a double-digit, third quarter deficit.

Garnett had an electrifying dunk with 7:10 remaining in the fourth as part of an 8-0 run that put Boston back ahead. The dunk also gave the superstar 21,000 points for his career.

As the clock was winding down in regulation, Anthony Parker missed a deep three from the right wing, but Bargnani drained the tying three from the left wing to knot the game at 93-93.

"We were looking for AP," Triano said. "We wanted it a little bit cleaner obviously but then we were able to get the rebound, and I think it was Chris did a great job on tipping the ball and keeping it alive.

"Then we missed one in the corner, and we were able to get it back and that's how we did it. But our guys scrambled and we were able to get a look, but I would say that we got the first look that we wanted, maybe it wasn't as clean as we liked."