Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 12/19/12
BOSTON -- Paul Pierce put on a show Wednesday night, leading the Celtics to the end of their three-game losing streak. "I just wanted to go out and play as hard as I could," Pierce said after scoring 40 points to power Boston, coming off an 0-3 road trip, to a 103-91 victory over the Cavaliers. "You get on a slide like that, you want to come home and do whatever you can to try to get a win. "It's a make or miss league; who knows if I was going to come in and shoot the ball the way I did, but one thing I could control was how hard I was going to play the game and the effort I was going to put out there." Pierce, who had 15 points in the first half, scored 17 in the first 8:18 of the third quarter, helping the Celtics build a 20-point lead before going to the bench. By the time he came back in the fourth quarter, the Cavs had come almost all the way back, but Pierce and Rajon Rondo combined to blow the game open again to give Boston (13-12) its fifth straight home win and sending Cleveland (5-22) to its fifth straight loss, its 20th in the last 23 games. Pierce, whose career high is 50, was 13-for-16 from the field, 6-for-7 from 3-point range and 8-for-8 from the foul line. He had eight rebounds and five assists in 33 minutes. The 35-year-old captain became the second-oldest Celtic to score 40 points in a game. Larry Bird was a month or so older when he scored 49 in a double-overtime game on March 15, 1992. "There was nothing we could do with (Pierce) tonight," said Cleveland coach Byron Scott, whose team played without big man Anderson Varejao (knee). "Sometimes a guy that's a great player like that, a future Hall of Famer, sometimes they get it going and there's really nothing much you can do. And Paul got it going. "He hit some shots that I hadn't seen him hit -- or play that way -- in a while. Sometimes you just got to pat him on the butt and say, 'Great job.'" In the last three games, Pierce, who had been going through a long-distance shooting slump, is 26-for-39 from the floor, 10-for-15 from 3-point range, 12-for-14 from the foul line, In those games he has 16 rebounds and 13 assists while averaging 24.7 points. "I felt like the last few games I've been shooting the ball a lot better -- three or four games now," he said. "I feel it really coming along to where I'm starting to really get in to a good groove offensively, the way my shot is going, picking my spot out. Even before tonight I felt better." Rondo finished with 20 points, eight assists and four rebounds, while Jason Terry had 15 points. Kyrie Irving led Cleveland with 22, rookie Tyler Zeller scored a career-high 20 and Tristan Thompson added 11 points and 12 rebounds. The Celtics, who shot almost 60 percent, led 80-60 with 3:17 left in the third quarter, but the Cavs went on a 12-2 run through the rest of the quarter, with Irving recording his own 7-0 burst in the final 1:23. That cut the Boston lead to 10 and Cleveland, with Irving resting after playing 30 of the first 36 minutes, scored the first five points of the fourth quarter. Celtics coach Doc Rivers quickly shuttled Pierce and Rondo back into the game, and the pair did their thing. Rivers, looking for answers, made two starting lineup changes, with Terry starting at guard and veteran center Jason Collins getting his first start as a Celtic. Terry scored 15 points (12 in the second half) and Collins had one point and two rebounds and fouled out (his sixth foul a flagrant) in 23 minutes. But Rivers liked the big man's presence on defense. NOTES: Varejao, averaging 14.1 points and 14.4 rebounds per game, had 22 points and 10 boards in Tuesday night's loss to Toronto but got hurt and was scratched Wednesday. ... Rivers re-inserted Terry into the starting lineup in place of Courtney Lee. "Right now, until Avery (Bradley) comes back, for Jet (Terry) he just doesn't get involved when Rondo's not on the floor. It has nothing to do with anybody else. It's more just trying to keep Jet involved. He needs to be out on the floor with a point guard that can deliver the ball to him." ... The Celtics host Milwaukee Friday before another road trip (Brooklyn, LA Clippers, Golden State and Sacramento). ... Bradley, who had surgery on both shoulders during the offseason, has returned to practice and is closing in on playing. When he does, he will give Boston much-needed defense in the backcourt. "They're saying January, around the first or second," he said. "We're just going to see how I feel. We're hoping for the next home game after the West Coast trip. ... The Cavs host Indiana on Friday night. ... The teams held a pregame chapel meeting to pray for the victims in Newtown, Conn., and a 26-second moment of silence was held before the game and the names of the 26 Sandy Hook Elementary victims up on the big screen.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Jeter plans to fire multiple Marlins special assistants

Carmelo Anthony sets up YouCaring page to help people in Puerto Rico

Kyle Shanahan takes jab at controversial pass interference call

Le'Veon Bell on precipice of amazing Steelers record

Andre Ward: A champion’s career comes to a close

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Tigers will not retain manager Brad Ausmus

15 key questions for NFL Week 3

Why USC-Cal will be best CFB game this weekend

NFL won’t rule out Ezekiel Elliott being suspended for Week 3

Players with most to prove heading into NBA season

CC Sabathia not worried about booze-fueled celebrations

Sports & Politics Intersect: Mayor Garcetti rolls back the NFL red carpet

The 'Greatest Show temporarily not on turf' quiz

Separating MLS playoff contenders from pretenders

WNBA Finals preview: Lynx look for revenge against Sparks

The 'Chris Sale joins an elite club' quiz

Three Up, Three Down: The home runs just keep on coming

Building on the NFL's positive changes beyond 2017

NFL Week 3 predictions

The 'MLB is as powerful as ever' quiz

After a decade in the WNBA, MVP Sylvia Fowles is ready for the spotlight

College football 2017 Week 4 predictions

10 teams that can unseat the Warriors in 2018

All Sports News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Yardbarker Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

Sports & Politics Intersect: Mayor Garcetti rolls back the NFL red carpet

The 'Greatest Show temporarily not on turf' quiz

Separating MLS playoff contenders from pretenders

WNBA Finals preview: Lynx look for revenge against Sparks

Three Up, Three Down: The home runs just keep on coming

The 'Chris Sale joins an elite club' quiz

Building on the NFL's positive changes beyond 2017

NFL Week 3 predictions

After a decade in the WNBA, MVP Sylvia Fowles is ready for the spotlight

The 'MLB is as powerful as ever' quiz

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker