Paul Pierce and the Boston Celtics were in need of a quality victory heading into the postseason to assert their dominance, as well as calm the nerves of an uneasy fanbase.
Pierce and company did just that on Thursday night, defeating the Western Conference leading San Antonio Spurs, 107-97, at the AT&T Center. Pierce finished 21 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists to pace the Celtics.
Boston (52-22) trailed 33-31 after the first quarter and outscored the Spurs 18-16 to take a 49-49 tie into halftime. The Celtics scored 28 points while allowing 21 points in the third quarter before outscoring San Antonio 30-27 in the final twelve minutes.
Rajon Rondo finished with 22 points and 14 assists for Boston, which shot 54.8 percent from the field. Kevin Garnett scored 20 points and grabbed nine rebounds and Ray Allen added 13 points for the Celtics.
Tony Parker led the Spurs with 23 points and eight assists for San Antonio (57-18), which made 43.3 percent of its field goals. Tim Duncan had 20 points and 13 rebounds and Richard Jefferson added 14 points for the Spurs.
Boston faces the Atlanta Hawks at Phillips Arena and on Friday night at 8 p.m. EDT.