Celtics clinch Atlantic Division title
Boston defeats Orlando 102-98
Paul Pierce had 29 points and a career-best 14 assists as the host Boston Celtics clinched the Atlantic Division crown with a 102-98 victory over the Orlando Magic.
Avery Bradley matched his career high with 23 points and Brandon Bass added 21 as the Celtics won their 30th division title despite the absence of point guard Rajon Rondo to a back injury.
Glen Davis scored 27 points and Jameer Nelson had 21 points and nine assists for Orlando, which was without standout center Dwight Howard (back) for the sixth consecutive contest.
One night after scoring a season-high 43 points against the New York Knicks, Pierce took over the role of distributor with Rondo sidelined. He already had achieved a season high for assists by halftime with 11.
Pierce also hit the biggest shot of the game for Boston, draining a 20-footer with 7.6 seconds left immediately after Davis’ steal and fast-break dunk pulled Orlando with 98-96. After Orlando again pulled within two with 3.8 seconds left, Pierce hit two free throws with 2.9 seconds remaining to put the game away.
The Magic trailed by 13 points with under seven minutes to play before exploding on a 12-1 run and pulling within 92-90 on Nelson’s driving layup with 3:04 remaining.
Kevin Garnett added 15 points and nine rebounds for Boston.
J.J. Redick had 13 points and Ryan Anderson had 12 points and nine rebounds for Orlando.