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November 23, 2012

Pierce, Celtics dump Thunder

BOSTON — Paul Pierce scored 22 of his 27 points in the second half and the Boston Celtics snapped a two-game losing streak by beating the Oklahoma City Thunder 108-100 last night.

Kevin Garnett had 18 points and nine rebounds for the Celtics, who led by 14 in the second half and held on after the Thunder cut it to three points with under 2 minutes remaining. Rajon Rondo had 16 assists and eight rebounds for Boston.

Kevin Durant scored 29 for Oklahoma City, which lost for just the second time in its past 10 games. Russell Westbrook had 26 points, eight assists and seven rebounds, and Serge Ibaka added 17 points and 13 rebounds.

Boston led 84-70 on Pierce’s 3-pointer with just under 10 minutes left, but the Thunder cut it to six, 93-87, thanks in part to a 3-pointer from Durant and a dunk from Ibaka. It was 101-89 when Westbrook made a pair of free throws and Durant hit a 3-pointer, then they each added a pair of free throws to cut the deficit to three points.

But Durant missed a 3-pointer that could have tied it, and then Garnett’s free throws gave Boston back a cushion. Jason Terry hit a 3-pointer with 37 seconds left to clinch it.

The Celtics trailed by seven points after one quarter but took a 48-45 lead into the half. They quickly expanded it to eight thanks to three straight baskets from Pierce, including a 3-pointer that made it 55-47 just 1:18 into the third quarter.

It got as high as nine points before the Thunder came within two, 66-64 with Garnett and Pierce on the bench. But Garnett came back into the game and Boston scored the next 11 points before Kevin Martin made a free throw with 2 seconds left in the third to make it 77-65. Pierce hit a 3 to make it 84-70 with 9:52 to play, Boston’s biggest lead of the game.

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