Guess Paul Pierce got tired of losing.
The long time Celtic warrior put together one of the most dominant performances of his career, leading Boston to a decisive 103-91 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers at TD Garden on Wednesday night.
Pierce carried the Celtics, scoring 40 points on 13 of 16 shooting, including a crazy 6 of 7 from 3 point land. He also was a perfect 8 for 8 from the line and ripped down eight rebounds. As if that wasn’t enough, he dished out 5 dimes and thieved 3 balls.
Pierce even blocked a shot just so his stat line wouldn’t look so bare.
Rajon Rondo scored 20 points and stuck 8 assists for Boston, who snapped a 3 game losing streak with the victory. Jason Terry chipped in 15, including a 3 for 5 from beyond the arc.
All five Cavaliers’ starters scored in double figures, but that lineup did not include forward Anderson Varejao, who was inactive for the game with a bruised knee.
Rookie point guard Kyrie Irving led the way with 22 points for Cleveland, now a league worst 5-22. Tyler Zeller poured in 20 and Tristan Thompson notched 11 points while pulling down a game-high 13 boards.
Pierce went on a personal 12-2 run in the third quarter that featured consecutive three pointers to give his Celtics an 18 point lead. For the second consecutive game, Kevin Garnett disappeared in the second half, scoring just 12 points for the game and pulling down 6 boards.
Boston pushed the lead to 80-60 late in the third quarter, but this is the NBA, where everyone makes a run, even the Cavaliers who went on a 20-2 run and trimmed Boston’s lead to just two points at start of the fourth quarter, closing to 82-80 on Zeller’s three-point play 3 minutes into the final quarter.
But the Celtics weathered the storm with Rondo and Pierce hitting key jumpers to fuel their own 14-4 run that blew the game open.
Boston coach Doc Rivers has been tinkering with his lineup all season trying to find a winning formula, and tonight was no exception. Rivers inserted shooting guard Jason Terry and forward Jason Collins into the starting lineup, citing the need for Terry “to be on the floor with a point guard that can get him the ball.”
Boston is in action once again on Friday night, hoping to build upon this win when they host the Milwaukee Bucks. Cleveland returns home to host the 13-12 Indiana Pacers, also on Friday night.