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

MLB reportedly will try to show compassion to Josh Hamilton

Jon Gruden: Bears need to move on from Jay Cutler

Blue Jays OF tears meniscus in freak sprinkler accident

Death threats show why some fans take sports too seriously

Five bubble teams playing well heading into March

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Falcons release Steven Jackson

Bill Walton has some words of advice for Derrick Rose

Five under-the-radar National Player of the Year candidates

Judge overturns Peterson suspension; NFL to appeal

Dez Bryant's mother in 2012: Dez threatened to knock me out

Full offseason breakdown for all 32 NFL teams

Rex Ryan has truck with Buffalo Bills paint scheme

WATCH: Sidney Crosby catches teammate's stick in mid-air

WATCH: Vanderbilt coach tells own player 'I'll f-ing kill you'

Are the Kings willing to trade DeMarcus Cousins?

Johan Santana signed by Blue Jays to minor league deal

Leafs trade David Clarkson to Blue Jackets For Nathan Horton

Panthers acquire Jaromir Jagr from Devils

Russell Westbrook is surging into the MVP conversation

HBO picks up The Rock’s football series, ‘Ballers’

The key offseason moves for every MLB team

Giancarlo Stanton gets first-ever customized facemask

Ronda Rousey, Arianny Celeste have verbal sparring match

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

Bostick death threats show why some fans take sports too seriously

Russell Westbrook is surging into the MVP conversation

Five-round NFL Mock Draft

Key offseason moves for every MLB team

Rousey, Arianny Celeste get into it

Dallas sportscaster back with another powerful essay

The parallels of Rose and Hardaway

Offseason breakdown for all 32 NFL teams

On Josh Hamilton's addiction and feeling alone

Judge rules against AP's suspension

Why the Lions should let Suh walk

Chris Jones charged with rape, sodomy

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.