Multiple overtimes seem to be a trend in basketball right now. Just one day after a five-overtime thriller between No. 11 Louisville and No. 25 Notre Dame in the NCAAs, the Denver Nuggets and the Boston Celtics went into triple overtime before the Celtics pulled away to win, 118-114, Sunday night.
The game's back-and-forth momentum had fans on the edge of their seats the entire contest. One reporter, Rod Mackey of 9News, compared the game to March Madness, tweeting:
This is like NCAA tourney exciting.— Rod Mackey (@Rod9sports) February 11, 2013
Peter Burns of Fox Sports Radio was less impressed—at least at first, expecting the Celtics to pull away with relative ease as the game wore on:
Despite Burns' proclamation, the Nuggets were able to match the Celtics point for point for most of the game. In fact, Burns came away very impressed after seeing the Nuggets' youthful resilience:
#Nuggets are so young they don't know they are supposed to lose games like this. I like.— Peter Burns (@PeterBurnsRadio) February 11, 2013
The Nuggets' young guns definitely came out blazing. JaVale McGee reeled in 16 rebounds, Danilo Gallinari and Kenneth Faried both accumulated double-doubles, and Ty Lawson led all scorers with 29 points.
As good as many of Denver's youngsters were, Boston's experience did win out in the end. Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett both had huge nights, despite poor shooting performances. The two combined to go 16-of-42 from the field, but they both managed 20-plus points and 14-plus rebounds to lead the Celtics. Pierce actually ended up with a triple-double, going for 27 points, 14 rebounds and 14 assists.
Jason Terry was also key for the Celtics, knocking down five threes in a 26-point effort. His performance in the third overtime sealed the deal for Boston, as the Celtics' Twitter account illustrates in exciting fashion:
Terry comes up with a huge 3, steal, and layup to seal a 118-114 win in #TripleOT over the Nuggets. Pierce: 27/14/14, KG: 20 points, 18 rebs— Boston Celtics (@celtics) February 11, 2013
After the team's seventh straight win after losing Rajon Rondo for the season, fans are predictably blaming all the team's former ailments on Rondo. Jason Dumont, for one, was excited to see the ball being spread around in crunch time:
Resilience shown by @celtics in win over Nuggets in 3 OTs. Benefitting by not having Rondo shoot no-confidence or last second shots— Jason P. Dumont (@jasondumont) February 11, 2013
Rondo speculation aside, this was a great game. Celtics fan Sherif Atia summarizes the contest best:
Nuggets played with a desire to win. Celtics played with a refusal to lose. #SevenInARow— Sherif Atia (@SherifTheChief) February 11, 2013
Player of the Game: Paul Pierce
Pierce's triple-double was an incredible effort from the veteran, as he displayed an all-around performance rarely matched in the NBA these days (even if it was in 54 minutes).
Pierce was also clutch, as it took his three-pointer to tie the game and send it to the third overtime. For his clutch shots and excellent overall performance, Pierce deserves player of the game honors.