Originally written on State Of The Celtics  |  Last updated 5/1/12
97



No Rajon Rondo? No Ray Allen? Eh, whatever.

Paul Pierce turned into the 2002 version of Paul Pierce and carried the Celtics offensively. 36 points, 14 rebounds and one massive, backbreaking shot after another down the stretch more than made up for the Celtics' firepower that was relegated to viewership status. Calling his performance a thing of beauty would be an insult to Pierce's performance. It was heroic, something that you'd expect from one of the greatest players to ever suit up for the greatest franchise in NBA history.

Of course, Pierce's heroics would have been nullified had the defense not gone all 2008 on Atlanta in the fourth quarter. Trailing by five entering the final period, the Celtics allowed the Hawks to score a whopping 14 points on 4-19 shooting in the fourth while forcing six turnovers. In wonderful Celtics fashion, the defense jump-started the offense and turned the entire game around.

Avery Bradley overcame his Game 1 jitters, didn't overthink things and had a nice game offensively. Kevin Garnett was magnificent in the fourth quarter on the defensive end. Mickael Pietrus recovered from his three early fouls to make a difference with his defensive pressure and energy. Keyon Dooling gets a shout-out for hitting the first two three-pointers for the Celtics in the series.

The Celtics now have home-court advantage and an angry All-Star point guard with something to prove returning to the starting lineup on Friday night. Rondo can thank Pierce and company for bailing him out by coming out like gangbusters in Game 3 and stepping on Atlanta's throat.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Three teams achieve separation in Aldridge chase

WATCH: Serena Williams wags finger at Wimbledon crowd, says, 'Don’t try me'

Report: Rajon Rondo headed to Sacramento Kings

Dez Bryant deal with Cowboys could be announced Monday

Brandon Saad, Ryan O’Reilly sign long-term contracts with Columbus, Buffalo

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Mavs solidify future, sign Wesley Matthews, DeAndre Jordan

A-Rod, Yankees settle dispute over home run milestone bonus

Report: Robin Lopez, Knicks finalizing four-year deal

Becky Hammon will coach Spurs' Summer League team

Jimmy Butler on Derrick Rose: ‘I don’t think we have any issues’

Yankees get A-Rod's 3,000th hit ball for $150,000 donation

The top American sports moments since the last Fourth of July

Nine former college football rivalries that need to come back

The most patriotic uniforms in American sports

Jeanie Buss: Brother Jim will step down if Lakers don't make deep run within two seasons

DeAndre Jordan to Dallas: The Los Angeles Clippers are literally mad men

Remember when the Cincinnati Bearcats were the scariest team in America?

Are the Angels now the worst organization in baseball?

Five reasons the Browns should play Johnny Manziel

Blue Jays need rookies to keep producing for success in 2015

WATCH: Sean Doolittle gets cup check from teammate

University of Florida developing high-tech smart mouth guard

Pat McAfee is the best punter in NFL history

NBA 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 Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Russell Wilson 'would definitely consider' playing for Mariners

Solo, Rapinoe among USWNT stars up for World Cup awards

LBS on Sports Jeopardy! Here's how how it went

College football's 35 most patriotic helmets

A brief history of non-star All-Stars

With Love retained, the Cavs can take care of LeBron

Grading the deal: Davis commits to Pelicans

Obama Administration: Change name if Redskins move to D.C.

Deciding what the All-Star Game means

Odell Beckham Jr. offered professional baseball contract

Orioles keep finding a way to win

Lloyd sends USWNT to World Cup final

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.