The Boston Celtics overcame the absence of their leading scorer, Paul Pierce, to pull away from the Miami Heat in the fourth quarter for a 107-102 victory on Wednesday night. Pierce missed the game with a strained left foot, but the Celtics, who had lost six of the previous nine games, were able to call on Rajon Rondo's 22 points and 14 assists while Eddie House added 16 off the bench as the home side scored 33 points in the final quarter.
"I thought we were able to get stops when we had to," said the Boston forward Kevin Garnett. "Rajon took over in the fourth quarter, Eddie House made some shots and we shared the ball and played well." The Celtics continually found the open man, getting 29 assists on 37 field goals. "It was contagious," Rondo said. "We shared the ball tonight and played very unselfishly." Dwyane Wade had 30 points and 13 assists for Miami but gave up a costly turnover with 36 seconds remaining with the Heat down by three.
"We went through a stretch where we didn't hit enough shots," he said. "We fought back, but we gave up too wide of a gap." "There are times where you're mad at Kevin for being a ball mover," said the Boston coach Doc Rivers."There are times when you say: 'Let's just go ahead and shoot that one'. Him and Rondo do that at times. But that's a disease I would rather have, over-pass, rather than the other way."
Elsewhere in the NBA, the Los Angeles Lakers' coach, Phil Jackson, set the all-time mark for coaching wins with the franchise when his team beat the Charlotte Bobcats 99-97. Jackson passed the previous record holder, Pat Riley, with the win, his 534th with the Lakers. His players congratulated him on the sideline after the game. "It's been a great run here for us in LA," Jackson said after picking up the 1,079th win of his career, fifth on the all-time NBA list.
"Having this opportunity to coach this team is always special. The fact that we've had some great teams, great players, is always a credit to them. It's not really an individual record in my mind." * With agencies