Boston, MA (Sports Network) – Ray Allen came through in the clutch yet again, hitting a go-ahead jumper in the final minute to lift the Boston Celtics to an 86-82 victory over the Detroit Pistons at TD Garden.
The Celtics trailed through most of the second half, but a run fueled by Shaquille O’Neal helped tie the game, and the usual suspects put the Celtics over the edge for their fourth straight win.
O’Neal ended with 12 points and 12 rebounds, while Paul Pierce scored a game- high 22 points for Boston, which snapped the Pistons’ three-game win streak.
Detroit was led by Rodney Stuckey’s 15 points, while Tayshaun Prince and Greg Monroe both netted 13 in defeat.
Detroit led 75-67 following a Ben Gordon three-pointer with 7:52 to play, but O’Neal scored seven points over the next three minutes, and his three-point play tied it, 76-76, with just over five minutes remaining.
Later, Monroe made a pair of layups around two misses from O’Neal at the foul line, but the Celtics answered with Kevin Garnett getting inside for a layup and Pierce rattling in a short jumper to tie the game with 1:20 to play.
Tracy McGrady bricked a contested jumper at the other end, and Rajon Rondo grabbed a Garnett miss to extend Boston’s next possession.
The Celtics called timeout and drew up a play for Allen, who came off a baseline screen and hit a deep two with 24.5 seconds to go, giving the Celtics their first lead of the second half at 84-82.
Stuckey’s leaner in the lane was off, and Pierce tipped the rebound to Garnett, who made 1-of-2 from the line with 16.6 ticks showing to keep it a one-possession game.
Glen Davis disrupted Gordon’s drive to the basket and caused a miss, then hit a free throw to ice the win.
There were seven lead changes in a first quarter that ended 22-all, and a similar second frame ended with Detroit holding a 45-42 edge.
Both teams made just five field goals in an offense-starved third stanza that saw the Pistons stay in front for the full 12 minutes. They were up 61-58 heading into the fourth.
Boston closes out a six-game homestand against Utah on Friday…Detroit plays the Nets in New Jersey on Friday…Allen and Garnett combined for 18 points on 7-of-22 shooting…Davis chipped in 11 points for Boston, while Rondo had six points, eight rebounds and eight assists…Charlie Villanueva scored 11 points and grabbed eight rebounds for Detroit, which was outrebounded, 47-34.