Paul Pierce scored a game-high 29 points and 14 assists as the Boston Celtics staved off a fourth-quarter comeback by the Orlando Magic for a 102-98 win Wednesday night at the TD Banknorth Garden in Boston.
Led by Pierce, the Celtics jumped out to a 33-22 lead after the first quarter, a lead they would hold until midway through the second quarter. Jameer Nelson and former Celtic Glen Davis began to chip away at Boston's lead, pulling even at 47 on a three-point shot by J.J. Redick with 2:24 to play in the first half.
In the second half, the Magic took a brief one-point lead before the Celtics again pulled away as Pierce and Brandon Bass keyed a 10-run at the end of the third quarter. Boston led by as much as 13 midway through the fourth quarter before Nelson, Davis and Redick helped the Magic pull within two. With three seconds remaining Pierce added a pair of free throws to seal the win, which improved the Celtics' record to 37-26 on the season. Boston is a half game ahead of the Magic (36-26) in the Eastern Conference playoff standings.
In addition to Pierce, the Celtics got 23 points from Avery Bradley and 21 points from Bass. Forward Kevin Garnett added 15 points and a team-high nine rebounds. Davis led the Magic with 27 points on 12-of-16 shooting. Nelson had 21 points and nine assists, while Redick added 13 points, four rebounds and five assists on the night.