Pierce's big night leads Celtics over Cavs
Boston, MA (Sports Network) - Paul Pierce scored a season-high 40 points on 13-of-16 shooting and pulled down eight rebounds as the Boston Celtics knocked off the Cleveland Cavaliers, 103-91, on Wednesday at TD Garden.
Pierce also added five assists and three steals. Rajon Rondo finished with 20 points and eight assists, while Jason Terry contributed 15 points on 6-of-9 from the floor for the Celtics, who have won five straight at home. Kevin Garnett donated 12 points and six boards in the victory.
Kyrie Irving scored a team-high 22 points, while Tyler Zeller added 20 points for the Cavs, who played without Anderson Varejao and Daniel Gibson. Both players suffered injuries in Tuesday's game against Toronto.
Dion Waiters netted 13 points, while Tristan Thompson and Alonzo Gee netted 11 points apiece in Cavs' fifth straight loss.
Boston held an 82-72 lead after three quarters, but the visitors opened the final frame with eight straight points to cut the deficit to 82-80.
A jumper followed by a pair of free throws from Rondo quickly pushed the Boston lead back to six with 8:18 to play.
Waiters hit a runner with 6:08 to go, pulling the Cavs within 88-84, but the Celtics put the game away with a 13-3 surge to go ahead 101-87 with 2:49 remaining.
Boston hit three of its first four shots from the floor to jump out to a quick 7-0 lead, but the Cavs battled back with an 11-4 surge to tie the game at 11 with 6:01 to play in the opening stanza.
It remained a one-possession game for the next few minutes until back-to-back Pierce treys around a Kevin Jones layup gave the Celtics a 23-19 advantage.
Irving tied the game at 25 late in the quarter with a jumper, but Boston led 27-25 after 12 minutes of action.
Boston maintained the lead for the duration of the second quarter, creating some space between the teams late in the frame.
Holding a 38-36 lead with 6:22 to play in the half, the Celtics used an 8-0 run to build the lead to 46-36 with 4:31 on the clock.
A 3-ball by Gee a bit later cut the deficit to five, but the home side held a 54-46 advantage at the break.
The home side stayed in control for the entire third stanza and a 15-footer by Terry with 3:16 on the clock made it an 80-60 Boston lead.
However, Cleveland would not go quietly and closed the quarter with a 12-2 surge to cut the deficit to 10 heading into the final session.
The Celtics improved to 9-4 at home this season and have won six of the last eight meetings between the teams ... Boston shot an impressive 59.7 percent from the floor and 9-of-17 from three-point range ... Cleveland shot 40.9 percent from the floor and struggled from the free throw line, hitting just 14-of-21 attempts.