While Ray Allen was taking care of business at free throw line, Paul Pierce had his arms around Rajon Rondo. “We’ve got your back,” Pierce told the point guard whose late-game fumble and botched layup had threatened to derail this modest winning streak the Celtics have put together.
Pierce scored 30 points in their 97-92 overtime win over the Rockets on Tuesday and seemed to make all the big plays down the stretch and in the extra session. Even his unfortunate 8-second backcourt violation was a testament to Pierce’s show of solidarity. Rondo had already left the backcourt, leaving Pierce stranded with no safety valve and Houston’s Courtney Lee draped all over him. He took one for the team, in other words.
About 60 feet away, while Allen was icing the game, Kevin Garnett stood in position. He had uncharacteristically missed two of his own a minute earlier that threatened to undo what had been a herculean effort on the boards. The Celtics got crushed on the glass, as usual, but it was Garnett who gave them even a fighting chance against Luis Scola and Sam Dalembert. In the process he moved past former teammate Shaquille O’Neal on the all-time rebounding list.