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Celtics start fast, hold off Nuggets 12.06.13 at 9:59 pm ET
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Jeff Green (8) and Jared Sullinger put up a wall for Randy Foye (4) and the Nuggets Friday night. (AP)

Jeff Green (8) and Jared Sullinger put up a wall for Randy Foye (4) and the Nuggets Friday night. (AP)

This time, the Celtics found a way to hold their 27-point first half lead.

Jordan Crawford scored 22 while Avery Bradley and Kris Humphries each added 18 to lead a balanced attack as the Celtics raced out to huge first half lead and held on for a 106-98 win over the Denver Nuggets Friday night at TD Garden. Jeff Green scored 15 while Brandon Bass added 14.

The win improves the Celtics to 9-12 on the season, which is still good for first place in the underwhelming Atlantic Division.

The Celtics couldn’t have asked for a better start than the one they got Friday night against the Nuggets.

Led by six points from Bradley, the Celtics raced out to a 14-0 lead to open the game. Bradley finished the first quarter with 13 points and the Celtics made 17-of-26 shots (65.4 percent) to open a huge 39-15 lead over a Nuggets team that entered the game 11-7 and in third place in the Northwest Division of the Western Conference.

The Celtics built their lead to 27 when Vitor Faveriani hit a three to open the second quarter.

From that point, the Nuggets began to claw their way back into the game, outscoring Boston 29-25 in the second quarter. Still, thanks to back-to-back dunks from Humphries and Bradley to close the first half, the Celtics led by 20 at the half, 64-44.

Randy Foye hit a three to start a 9-0 Denver run to open the second half. JJ Hickson converted a layup that cut the lead down to 11, 64-53, in the first two minutes of the half. Ty Lawson drilled a pull-up jumper with 7:42 left in the quarter as Denver capped a 20-4 spurt that cut Boston’s lead down to four, 68-64.

Denver would draw to within three twice in the third, the last time coming on a Timofey Mozgov dunk with 3:31 left in the quarter that cut Boston’s lead to 76-73.

Crawford’s three with 39.5 seconds remaining and the shot clock winding down gave the Celtics a 106-96 lead and sealed Boston’s ninth win of the season.

The Celtics avoided repeating last season’s epic 27-point collapse in Atlanta. On Jan. 25, 2013, the Celtics led the Hawks, 48-21, in the second quarter but couldn’t hold on in the second half, losing 123-111, in double-overtime. That was also the last game Rajon Rondo played, as he tore his right ACL late in the game and has been out of action since.

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Paul Pierce: ‘This is the type of win that can give us confidence to move forward’ 02.11.13 at 1:19 am ET
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Celtics captain Paul Pierce did it yet again on Sunday night with a triple-double scoring 27 points with 14 rebounds and 14 assists in 54 minutes of action as the Celtics outlasted the Denver Nuggets 118-114 in a triple overtime thriller at TD Garden.

“It was a good win, man. It was hard fought, we’re playing against one of the hottest in the league, on our home court,” Pierce said. “It’s definitely a satisfying win. When you come out and we looked bleak, especially in the overtimes, this was a great game to be a part of. It was a great win against a quality ball club, not to say the other teams weren’t quality teams we played, but you know, this is the type of win that can give us confidence to move forward.”

Pierce hit game-tying three with time running out on their six-game win streak at the end of double-overtime before Jason Terry and Kevin Garnett took over in triple-overtime. The three that rattled home with 5.2 seconds left in double-overtime, sending the Garden crowd into pandemonium.

“Well, the original play was Pierce coming off pick-and-roll, if he can get a three off, get it,” Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. “If not, Jet [Jason Terry]. Then it was broken and Paul just made a play. I mean, that’s what great players do. I would love to tell you I had something to do with it. I was sitting just like the fans playing, ‘Please, Lord, Paul make a shot.’ Once he got below 11 – originally we were going to go for a quick two – once he got under the 11-second mark I was yelling, ‘We have to take a three now.’”

Pierce said once the Celtics got the game into triple-overtime, it was time for Garnett to take over.

“That was part of the plan,” Pierce said. “We wanted to get him on the block, we wanted to get it to him on the spots where he can take the shot. That was a big part of the plan. We felt like he had the advantage, wasn’t going to it enough, but we just tried to keep going to him, keep wearing out the matchup, he made three quick baskets in that last overtime, Jason hits a big shot, and that’s what you gotta do. A lot of different guys stepped up for us tonight. Jeff Green in the first overtime was huge. Two huge shots at the end of regulation and one in overtime, so it’s got to be a team effort. Avery’s defense…I mean it was a combination of everybody and that’s what its gonna take for us to move forward.”

Garnett hit Boston’s first three shots of the third extra period before Terry’s three gave the Celtics the lead for good.

“Roles expand,” Pierce said. “I know what im capable of, but when you have a guy like Rondo, not as much is needed from you because you have another guy who can do so many things also. So I think with him out the roles gonna change. I’m gonna be more of a facilitator for this ball club, and you know it’s got to come from not only me, its gotta come from a number of guys. You see other guys being able to step up, we were scoring more. So it’s not only me, its everybody whose roles change, and has to do more with the injuries that we have.”

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Jason Terry: ‘My gut tells me to keep shooting’ 02.10.13 at 10:43 pm ET
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Jason Terry hit the go-ahead three-pointer with 1:33 remaining in triple overtime to leave the Celtics to a 118-114 win over the Denver Nuggets Sunday night at TD Garden. The Celtics won their seventh straight with a thrilling victory while ending Denver’s nine game winning streak.

After missing six straight threes, Terry wasn’t about to turn down another chance at coming through for his team. He took a pass from Paul Pierce and hit a triple with 1:33 left in triple-overtime to give the Celtics a lead they would not relinquish.

“Well shooters shoot, and the looks they were giving me were great ones,” Terry said. “I’ve got to admit, JaVale McGee is a huge target to shoot over, so a lot of those shots were over him and they were short but my instinct, my gut tells me to keep shooting. Paul Pierce did a hell of a job drawing defenders all night long and I just knew if I got a clean, clean look uncontested, I was going to knock it down.”

Pierce said after the game that Terry promised he would make his next 3-point attempt.

“No question. I told him and whoever else wanted to listen – that’s just my motto, that’s how I’ve been,” Terry said. “In a game like that it’s just so mentally draining – you have to stay into it. Defensively we continued to get stops but not only was Paul Pierce’s shot tremendous but I thought Kevin Garnett I mean, the man’s 50-years old. For him to make those shots that he made when we direly needed them was tremendous for us.”

As for his steal at the end of the third overtime on Andre Miller, a play Pierce called the “biggest” of the game, Terry said right place, right time.

“That was just individual defense,” Terry said. “Mano-a-mano. I know Andre, we came in at the same time together. Many battles. He wants to get right, he got right. I cut him off, he exposed the ball, I got the strip, and I was able to knock it out.”

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The cold truth: Paul Pierce leads Celtics to 7th straight in epic fashion at 9:15 pm ET
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Paul Pierce was doing it all Sunday night against the Nuggets, including battling for this rebound. (AP)

Paul Pierce was doing it all Sunday night against the Nuggets, including battling for this rebound. (AP)

The two hottest teams in the NBA rewarded hearty New England basketball fans with the game of the year in professional basketball. In a game with countless ebbs and flows, the Celtics outlasted the Nuggets, 118-114, in triple overtime Sunday night at TD Garden, earning their season-high seventh straight win in the process. The Celtics also ended Denver’s nine-game win streak, with Rajon Rondo in attendance.

In 54 spectacular minutes, Paul Pierce finished with a triple double, scoring 27 points, grabbing 14 rebounds and dishing 14 assists. But with a chance to tie the game, his second free throw rattled in and out with 32.5 seconds left in double overtime. Ty Lawson hit jumper to put Denver up three. Pierce came down and drained a 3-pointer with 5.2 seconds left to send the game into triple overtime.

After missing six straight 3-pointers, Jason Terry drilled a straightaway trey with 1:33 left in triple OT to put the Celtics up 116-113. Terry finished with 26 points off the bench. Sunday marked Boston’s ninth overtime game this season, matching a franchise record for a season (1950-51 and 1953-54). Kevin Garnett was big on the boards in 47 minutes, hauling in 18 rebounds to go with 20 points.

The Celtics were 3.6 seconds from their seventh straight win when the officials overturned a Nuggets turnover out of bounds under the Celtics basket. Given a second chance, Lawson hit the game-tying layup off the glass to send the game into overtime.

There were very few empty seats in TD Garden as Celtics fans braved the elements and lack of public transportation to get to the game just 24 hours after a state of emergency was lifted in the wake of the “Nemo” blizzard.

The Nuggets entered the game with an NBA-best nine-game winning streak, beating the Cavaliers Saturday night. The Nuggets (104.8) entered the game as the third-highest-scoring team in the NBA, with only the Thunder (106.6) and Rockets (106.0) scoring more per game.

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Former Celtics draft pick Kris Joseph traded by Red Claws at 6:34 pm ET
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Kris Joseph sports his No. 43 jersey after getting drafted by the Celtics last June. (AP)

Kris Joseph sports his No. 43 jersey after getting drafted by the Celtics last June. (AP)

Kris Joseph has a new start with a new team in the NBA.

According to the New York Post, the Maine Red Claws have traded the Celtics’ 2012 second-round pick (51st overall) small forward Kris Joseph to the Springfield Armor for forward James Mays.

Joseph cleared waivers and was released last month after appearing in six games for the Celtics. He was subsequently re-signed by the Red Claws. Joseph averaged 18.2 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 1.6 steals per game in 12 games with Boston’s D-League affiliate.

As for Mays, he was invited to Brooklyn Nets training camp and cut before being assigned to the Springfield Armor, the D-League affiliate of the Brooklyn Nets. Mays was undrafted in 2008 before signing as an unrestricted free agent with the Nuggets. Mays is averaging 16.4 points and 10.6 rebounds in 26 games, earning him a spot on the D-League All-Star team.

For more, visit the Celtics team page at weei.com/celtics.

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Kevin Garnett: ‘If it’s up to me, I’m going to retire a Celtic’ 02.07.13 at 11:51 pm ET
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Following Thursday’s blowout win over the Lakers, Kevin Garnett left no doubt where he wants to end this season and his career.

There has been plenty of speculation in the last week, linking Garnett’s name to trade rumors involving the Clippers and, most recently, the Nuggets.

Garnett, one of the most sensitive and informed superstars in the league, took the opportunity – unsolicited – to remind everyone of his intentions.

“On a last note, I just want to say I love my situation here,” said Garnett, who has a full no-trade clause and can veto any deal the Celtics may encounter heading toward the Feb. 21 trade deadline. “I don’t know what y’all’s sources are or whoever is making up these bulls**t articles about me getting traded to Denver and all these other places. I bleed green and I continue to do that. If it’s up to me, I’m going to retire a Celtic. I just want y’all to know that. Keep it real.”

Minutes earlier, when asked what kind of message a six-game winning streak sends Celtics GM Danny Ainge about keeping the team together, Garnett offered this:

“I don’t know what Danny and upper management has up their sleeves as far as making this team better,” Garnett said. “But we, as players, can only control us. Right now, we are in a rhythm; we are moving the ball. I know I kind of sound like a broken record but we are continuing to consolidate the ball and everybody’s touching the ball and playing with a lot of confidence. We are playing together on both ends and that’s important right now.”

The Celtics are 6-0 since Rajon Rondo went down with season-ending ACL tear in his right knee. Garnett explained that the Celtics lost their best chef but they’re still cooking up a winning recipe.

“Well, the only way I can really explain it is that when you sit back, Rondo does so many great things for this team, you kind of get lackadaisical if you will,” Garnett began. “It’s very similar to if you had someone cooking for you and you’re expecting that every day. All of sudden, someone isn’t there for you in your house to do that. And it’s up to you to feed yourself. All of sudden, you start making all of these gourmet dishes and then it’s more people over to the house. You never knew you possess that unless you lost that person who was cooking. It’s kind of like that.”

Garnett then went into the above soliloquy on bleeding green for life.

All of this on a night when he became the first player in NBA history with 25,000 points, 10,000 rebounds, 5,000 assists and 1,500 blocks.

“I’m sure someday I’ll fall back and rock in my rocking chair having a cigar, thinking about what I’ve done, I’m sure it will make some sense to me,” Garnett said. “But you know, I told Doc when I came here to all the coaches and ex-players and current players and systems and organizations, this great organization that I play for, I’m more than honored, because without the systems and the coaches, and obviously players that put you in a position to score the basketball none of this would be possible. You know, I try to keep my body young and keep together. But there’s so many different components going into some of the individual awards, and I’d just like to obviously say I’m more than honored. But thank you, to all the ones that you guys don’t see. So, I guess all that said and done I’m more than flattered and honored.”

For more, visit the Celtics team page at weei.com/celtics.

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NBA Offseason Review: Northwest Division 12.20.11 at 7:43 pm ET
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Given the drama (and comedy) that was the NBA lockout, the ensuing free agency frenzy and the vetoed trade by a commissioner of a group of owners who was acting as the general manager of an individual team that is owned by that same group of owners, it’s easy to get confused about who landed where. This is the second of six daily division-by-division reviews leading up to opening day.

NBA Offseason Review: Pacific Division

MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES

2010-11 record: 17-65
2010-11 standing: 5th in Northwest Division
NBA draft picks: 2. Derrick Williams; 43. Malcolm Lee
Key additions: Ricky Rubio (Spain); J.J. Barea (free agent); Brad Miller (trade)
Key substractions: Jonny Flynn (trade); Lazar Hayward (trade)
2011-12 starters: PG Ricky Rubio; SG Wesley Johnson; SF Michael Beasley; PF Kevin Love; C Darko Milicic
2011-12 wins over/under (sportsbook.com): 15.5
2011-12 prediction: 21-45

PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS

2010-11 record: 48-34
2010-11 standing: 3rd in Northwest Division; lost Western Conference first round, 4-2
NBA draft picks: 21. Nolan Smith; 51. Jon Diebler; 57. Tanguy Ngombo
Key additions: Jamal Crawford (free agent) Raymond Felton (trade); Kurt Thomas (free agent)
Key substractions: Andre Miller (trade); Brandon Roy (retired); Patrick Mills (free agent)
2011-12 starters: PG Felton; SG Wesley Matthews; SF Gerald Wallace; PF LaMarcus Aldridge; C Marcus Camby
2011-12 wins over/under (sportsbook.com): 41.5
2011-12 prediction: 39-27

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