Originally written on State Of The Celtics  |  Last updated 11/13/14
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

First 'National Fantasy Football Convention' to star Tony Romo

Sam Dekker scores career high after Aaron Rodgers' challenge

Brey Day: Notre Dame’s coach makes first Elite Eight after a vintage performance

Ronda Rousey on having kids: 'I'm an ovarian goldmine'

Pedro Martinez: Rose should be allowed in Hall of Fame

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Pablo Sandoval 'cut things off at the root' with Giants

Scott Boras taking shots at Cubs' history over Kris Bryant

Kingdome debt finally paid off 15 years after demolition

49ers waive Jonathan Martin

Former MLBer Curt Ford assaulted, told to ‘go back to Ferguson’

Russell Westbrook was very ‘confused’ by media after loss

How a basketball-themed art exhibit changed perceptions

Bucs admit they’ve been getting calls about Mike Glennon

The last Expo standing

NHL ships nets which have room for cameras inside posts

Toronto Raptors limping into the playoffs

Best picks ever at every spot in first round of NFL Draft

Alonzo Mourning confirms “Who wants to sex Mutombo?”

CC Sabathia attempting to get healthier by getting … fatter?

You can bid on Andrew McCutchen’s recently cut locks

Is Chuck Pagano receiving the Jim Harbaugh treatment?

Wideouts wearing out their welcome

Dean Smith willed $200 to each of his former players

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

Notre Dame’s coach makes first Elite Eight after a vintage performance

The last Expo standing

Five under-the-radar AL MVP candidates

Michigan sent recruit's GF a letter

MLB teams that could disappoint

25 years ago, the best Sweet 16 of all time was pure madness

The 2015 bad quarterback carousel

17 facts to know before the Sweet 16

Agent: Sam was horrible at veteran combine

Keeping judo ‘pure’ in Europe means keeping MMA out

The Sweet 16 should be seen as success

On the Browns, Hard Knocks, questions and narratives

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.