After struggling earlier in the game, Paul Pierce and the short-handed Boston Celtics were determined to rebound from a daunting early deficit.
Even a 27-point deficit without three missing starters didn’t deter them. as the Celtics surged back for a wild 91-83 victory Thursday night over Orlando.
Pierce accounted for 24 points, six rebounds and 10 assists as the Celtics took control with a 15-1 run to start the fourth quarter. He combined with rookie guard E’Twaun Moore to score 20 points in the fourth-quarter comeback.
“Everybody was big,” Pierce told the Associated Press. “Obviously, when you got a rookie (Moore) who hasn’t played too much to come in and do the things he did — that’s big for us. The team decided to stand up and fight.”
The victory stretched a three-game winning streak for the Celtics, which also includes a 31-point victory over the Magic earlier this week in Boston.
Thursday’s victory came despite a 21-point halftime deficit that Boston coach Doc Rivers kept preaching was achievable during the break.
They were helped by a frigid Magic collapse as they missed seven field-goal attempts, missed five of six free throws and committed three turnovers during Boston’s fourth-quarter charge.
“That was a character builder for our team, it really was,” Rivers said. “It’s all that we talked about at halftime. Not a big game plan, we didn’t make any big changes. We just kept talking about it being a character builder for this basketball team.
“We needed every single guy today and that was terrific.”
The big nights by Pierce and Moore headed Thursday’s Studs and Duds on an abbrievated night across the association.
Boston F Paul Pierce: Don’t write him off yet. The 14-year-veteran went for 24 points, six rebounds, 10 assists and was plus-9 in the Celtics’ wild comeback victory at Orlando.
Los Angeles Clippers F Blake Griffin: Went for 20 points, nine rebounds, eight assists, blocked two shots and was plus-5 in the Clippers’ victory over Memphis.
Los Angeles Clippers G Chris Paul: Filled the stat sheet for 18 points, seven rebounds, seven assists and was a team-best plus-18 in the Clippers’ victory over Memphis.
Boston G E’Twaun Moore: Came off the bench to score 16 points on 5 of 6 shooting and was a team-best plus-27 in the Celtics’ victory at Orlando.
Orlando F Glen Davis: “Big Baby” struggled against his old teammates in a 3-for-11 shooting effort and was minus-4 in the Magic’s loss to Boston.
Memphis’ guards: Starters Mike Conley and Tony Allen combined to hit 5 of 19 from the field with four turnovers and were a combined minus-26 in the Grizzlies’ loss at the Clippers.
Memphis G O.J. Mayo: Went 5 of 19 from the field in the Grizzlies’ loss at the Clippers.
Orlando’s offense: The Magic collapsed in the fourth quarter, hitting 2 for 17 from the field and scoring eight points as they squandered an earlier 27-point lead in their loss to Boston.