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GAME OF THE DAY

Pierce gets mad, then gets Celtics a victory

December 30, 2007|From the Associated Press

SALT LAKE CITY -- Paul Pierce was angry and embarrassed after going without a point or a rebound in the first half Saturday night, essentially depriving the Boston Celtics of one-third of their Big Three.

So Pierce woke himself up in the second half and led the Celtics to their fifth consecutive victory, 104-98 over the Utah Jazz.

"I was really mad at myself at the half," said Pierce, who scored 24 points in the second half. "I knew I was going to come out more aggressive at both ends of the court. That's what I tried to do."

Pierce finished with six rebounds -- also all in the second half -- including a crucial one that helped seal the Celtics' 14th win in their last 15 games.

Pierce had just broken a tie on a layup with 28 seconds left to play. Utah's C.J. Miles tried to put Utah back up with a three-pointer, but the ball bounced high off the rim and Pierce was able to grab it, drew a foul and sealed it for the Celtics with two free throws.

Ray Allen scored 23 and Kevin Garnett added 15 points and nine rebounds for the Celtics, who improved the NBA's best record to 25-3 and will be looking to sweep a four-game cross-country trip tonight against the Lakers.

"In my years past, we always talked about going .500. Being able to go .500 was a successful road trip," said Allen, who played for the Seattle SuperSonics before being traded to Boston in a draft-day deal in June. "We're ahead of the curve here."

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