|Fast Break: Celtics vs. Trail Blazers||01.22.10 at 10:30 pm ET|
BOSTON – Kevin Garnett’s return was nothing short of dramatic.
The Celtics expected energy from their big man and this game had plenty of it.
On paper, the combination of KG’s comeback plus homecourt advantage gave the Celtics a clear edge over the Brandon Roy-less Trail Blazers. But nothing has been a sure bet for the C’s as of late and they struggled yet again in the second half to put together four solid quarters of basketball.
The Celtics blundered an 11-point lead, trailed down the stretch, but eventually forced overtime. All they needed was five more minutes to put away the Trail Blazers, 98-85, to snap their three-game losing streak and reclaim control at home.
Player of the Game: Credit Paul Pierce (24 points) for carrying through regulation before fouling out in the final seconds, and then give kudos to Ray Allen in overtime. It is unusual when a player who shoots 3-for-14 from the field is named Player of the Game, but in this instance it was the one who struggled the most that had the biggest impact when it mattered. He drained a three-pointer late in overtime to put the Celtics up by one … and they never looked back.
Turning Point: Let’s start with regulation. Martell Webster hit a long jumper to tie the game at 91 apiece with less than a minute in the fourth. Rondo fought through a cluster of Trail Blazers to snag the rebound at top of the key. Pierce drove the lane on an attempted game-winning layin and instead was whistled for his sixth foul. The Trail Blazers failed to connect and the game headed to overtime.
In OT, Ray Allen made up for a poor offensive performance and hit a critical 3-pointer to put the Celtics up 96-95. Tony Allen beat out LaMarcus Alridge on a steal, sending Aldridge tumbling into the broadcasters table. Tony Allen slammed it home and gave the Celtics a final three-point lead.
- Garnett played 30 minutes in his first game back since December 28. He posted 13 points (4-for-9 FG, 5-5 FG), four rebounds, three assists, and two blocks. He was also whistled for five fouls.
- In spite of hitting the the key go-ahead bucket, Allen scored less than 10 points for the third time in the past four games.
- The Celtics were outscored on second chance points (22-8) for the third time in four games. They were outscored 12-0 by the Pistons on Wednesday and 16-2 by the Bulls last week.
- The Trail Blazers bench did not score until just over three minutes left in the second half. Their reserves were outscored 29-11 by the Celtics.
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