Paul Pierce returned from taking a hit in the mouth in the final minute to make a 17-foot fallaway jumper as time expired that gave the Celtics a 90-88 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers last night in Boston.
"I can't do much when a guy hits a fadeaway jump shot," said Ruben Patterson, who was guarding Pierce. "I tried to play him head up, but there is nothing you can do about that."
Gary Payton scored 15 points for the Celtics and became the 29th player in NBA history to reach 20,000. It was the first home win for Coach Doc Rivers.
Pierce played with a mouth guard following seven hours of dental surgery Monday after being hit with an elbow in Saturday's game at New York. He was down after getting hit in the mouth during a battle for a rebound with 34 seconds left against Portland.
But after slowly walking over to the bench with the trainer during a timeout, Pierce came back out for the final possession.
"I got poked in the eye [too]," Pierce said. "I took a bit of a beating there at the end, but paid them back."
Zach Randolph of the Trail Blazers made the second of two free throws to tie it at 88 with 19 seconds left. Celtics guard Ricky Davis gave the ball to Pierce at the top of the key. Pierce then motioned for his teammates to clear out before hitting the game-winner from the left side.
"If I was new to the league I'd be surprised," Boston center Mark Blount said. "That's what he does. That's why I walked off the floor when he took the shot."
Pierce led the Celtics with 20 points and Raef LaFrentz had 18 points and 10 rebounds.
* CAVALIERS 114, SUNS 109: On his souvenir bobblehead night, Zydrunas Ilgauskas shook Gund Arena. Cleveland's 7-foot-3 center made three long jumpers, including a tying three-pointer at the end of regulation, and the Cavaliers rallied for an overtime win against Phoenix, the Suns' first loss.
LeBron James scored a season-high 38 points -- 17 during a one-man comeback in the fourth quarter -- for Cleveland, which trailed by 19 entering the final period before pulling off one of the most unlikely comebacks in the club's 35-year history.
* CLIPPERS 102, PACERS 68: Elton Brand had 19 points and 16 rebounds and Los Angeles took control of lethargic Indiana from the start in the worst home loss in franchise history.
* 76ERS 108, NETS 100: Allen Iverson hit the tying jumper with 7.2 seconds left in regulation and Corliss Williamson scored seven of his 15 points in overtime to lead host Philadelphia to victory.
* GRIZZLIES 110, LAKERS 87: Pau Gasol scored 22 points and Shane Battier added 18 as host Memphis won for the first time. Kobe Bryant had 20 points on 4-for-19 shooting for the Lakers, who shot 37 percent.
"I can go off solo and get 50 or 60 points on these guys, but that doesn't mean we're going to win," Bryant said.
* RAPTORS 104, JAZZ 95: Chris Bosh scored 20 points and Rafer Alston hit a key three-pointer down the stretch to lead Toronto past host Utah, the Jazz's first loss of the season.
* BUCKS 102, BOBCATS 100: Desmond Mason scored 31 points, including three free throws in the final minute, and Michael Redd added 26 to help host Milwaukee to victory.
* SPURS 91, WARRIORS 71: Tim Duncan had 23 points and 18 rebounds and Manu Ginobili added 22 points to lead host San Antonio over winless Golden State.
* SUPERSONICS 108, KINGS 78: Ray Allen scored 20 points and Rashard Lewis added 18, leading host Seattle to its fourth consecutive victory.