Pierce powers Celtics past Raptors
Paul Pierce scored 22 of his 36 points in the fourth quarter, rallying the Boston Celtics to a 94-87 victory over the visiting Toronto Raptors Monday night.
Kevin Garnett contributed with 21 points and 10 rebounds, and Ray Allen poured in 19 points for the Celtics (7-1).
Toronto forward Jermaine O'Neal bounced back from a tough game in Toronto's win over Charlotte on Sunday, leading the team with 23 points and 11 rebounds.
Anthony Parker scored 15 and Jason Kapono 14 for Toronto (4-3).
The Celtics rallied from 16 points in the third quarter, then took the lead for good with 1:38 remaining in the fourth to secure the victory.
"In the fourth quarter, they did a good job of making shots," O'Neal said. "Ray, Paul and the others have an incredible comfort level with each other. We've got to figure a way to keep those guys down, especially when we're up 15 or 16 points in a game."
With the score tied 84-84, Boston centre Kendrick Perkins, who had trouble guarding O'Neal most of the game, blocked a turnaround and Pierce drained a shot at the other end.
On the next possession, Celtics took advantage of an O'Neal turnover when Pierce hit another jumper to give the Celtics a four-point lead.
Pierce put the game away with 34.4 seconds remaining, scoring on a driving scoop.
"You look at the shots Paul Pierce made," Toronto coach Sam Mitchell said. "He drove the basket a couple of times, but he was making a lot of 18-, 19-foot shots with guys contesting him."
Toronto had jumped out to a 57-42 lead following Jose Calderon's jumper 3:30 into the third quarter before Boston started its comeback.
Garnett scored six points and Pierce added five during a 15-4 run as the Celtics cut Toronto's advantage to to three. Kapono hit a three-pointer to give the Raptors a 65-59 lead after three.
The Raptors, who got the better of Boston in the paint, led 48-36 at halftime. O'Neal had 19 points on seven-of-12 shooting in the first half.
With files from the Associated Press