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Sunday, February 10, 2013

This Is Getting Silly: Celtics Pick Up 7th Straight Win, In 3OT Vs. Denver (NBA's Hottest Team)

Two weeks ago when Rajon Rondo was declared out for the season, who could have predicted how these next seven games would turn out for the Celtics? Boston (27-23, 19-9 home) picked up their seventh straight win tonight, 118-114 in triple overtime against Denver (33-19, 11-16 away) at TD Garden in what was the best game of the regular season so far not only for the C's but the NBA as a whole.

Boston hadn't won a triple overtime game since 1999 and what made this extra sweet was that it was against the NBA's hottest team: the Nuggets entered with nine wins in a row. Paul Pierce (27 points, 14 rebounds, 14 assists) notched his eighth career triple-double (second in two weeks) while playing 54 minutes. Kevin Garnett was also excellent with 20 points, 18 rebounds, six assists, three blocks and two steals in 47 minutes. Avery Bradley added 13 points, five rebounds and three steals. The unexpected hero for the Celts was Jason Terry who had a season-high 26 points and three steals off the bench. Jeff Green continues to play well and shut up his early season critics (myself included) with 17 points, three blocks and two steals.

Ty Lawson paced Denver with 29 points, nine assists and six rebounds. Former Knick Danilo Gallinari had 18 points, 10 rebounds, three steals and two blocks, Kenneth Faried added 14 points, 12 rebounds and three steals while Andre Miller (15 points, 6 assists, 5 rebounds) and Corey Brewer (13 points, 3 steals) were in double figures off the bench.

Other than Boston starting the game on a wacky 12-0 run, this game was back and forth the whole way as it should be. Lawson tied it at 92 with less than a second left in regulation after driving the lane and getting a floater off the glass. With 23 seconds left in the first overtime, Green tied it at 99 with a 3-ball then Lawson missed a desperation 3-pointer at the buzzer. Down three with five seconds left, Pierce tied it at 107 with a 3-pointer in the second overtime. Gallinari missed a layup with one second left. Terry hit the go-ahead three in the second overtime then he laid it in at the buzzer so technically he scored Boston's last five points.

I can't even imagine how tired Pierce, Garnett and the rest of the team are after this marathon (game-time: 3 hours, 4 minutes). There are only two games left before the 2013 All-Star break: tomorrow (7 p.m., CSN) in Charlotte (11-39, 5th in Southeast Division) then against Chicago (30-20, 2nd in Central Division) on Wednesday (7:30 p.m., CSN) at the Garden. He's never done it before but I wouldn't be surprised to see Doc Rivers pull a Gregg Popovich and sit KG and Pierce against the Bobcats. There is no reason to push them hard after tonight's grueling task. Likewise, they should still be able to beat hopeless Charlotte even without them.

UPDATE 2/12: Guard Leandro Barbosa is out for the season after tearing his left ACL in last night's loss to the Bobcats. Ugh, he's the third Celtic to go down in the last three weeks with a season-ending injury. It's a shame too because he had been playing well with more minutes since Rajon Rondo tore his ACL. Boston will need to get another guard to take his spot.

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