BOSTON - Paul Pierce is never content with just scoring. If he was, he wouldn't already be a lock for the Hall of Fame. Instead, the captain of the Boston Celtics will do whatever it is his team needs him to do. Scoring, rebounding, stealing, and yes, even passing.
One night after scoring more points than he had in six years, Pierce finished with a career-high 14 assists (and he still scored, totaling 19 points) to lead the Celtics past the Orlando Magic, 102-98, Wednesday night at TD Garden. Boston (37-26) clinched its fifth straight Atlantic Division crown with the win, as well as the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference.
"I was able to take care of business, wrap up our division despite all we've been through, with injuries, with not playing well in the first half, it was a great accomplishment," said Pierce. "It was one of our goals coming into the second half of the season. It was a good win tonight, it was good to get the fourth seed."
On a night when Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen and Mickael Pietrus were all out, the Celtics still managed to put forth a productive shooting game (38-for-70 from field, 54.3 percent), sparked by Avery Bradley (23 points) and Brandon Bass (21 points). Kevin Garnett finished with 15 points and nine rebounds and Sasha Pavlovic was held scoreless.
"I think one of our strength's is that we have a lot of depth, we have a lot of professionals on our team who are always ready to step up," said Keyon Dooling. "Offensively, we didn't really ignite the game, but defensively I think we did a great job. What we were able to do was get the ball to the right places. We were able to feed KG, feed Paul and play to those guys. Avery's emerging, so we might have to give him like a "Big 5" or something. It was a great team win for us."
Glen Davis, playing in his second game as a visitor at the Garden, had 27 points and seven rebounds to lead Orlando. Jameer Nelson finished with 21 points and nine assists, J.J. Redick scored 13 and Ryan Anderson had 12 points and nine rebounds.
"I know sometimes when you lose a game you say what did you learn from the loss, but I think we went a step forward," Davis said. "There's been multiple games where we've been down and we just went away and I like how the way we fought today, but at the end of the day we need to win the game."