Celtics move into division tie

Posted: March 29, 2012

KEVIN GARNETT found Keyon Dooling for a three-pointer. Then the Boston big man hit a fallaway jumper of his own. Back at the other end, Garnett grabbed a rebound to start a fast break that ended with Avery Bradley at the free throw line.

Just like that, the Celtics broke open a tie game and took a seven-point lead they never relinquished.

Garnett had 23 points and 10 rebounds on Wednesday night to lead Boston to a 94-82 victory over visiting the Utah Jazz and move the Celtics back into a tie for first place in the Atlantic Division. Garnett had 10 points and three assists in the fourth quarter, when Boston recovered after blowing an 18-point lead.

"He's been playing like that a lot in the second half of the season," said Celtics swingman Paul Pierce, who scored 20 points. "We've been going to him a lot out there. And he's been inspiring on both ends of the floor."

Brandon Bass scored 19 points, and Rajon Rondo had 14 assists for Boston, which won for the fifth time in six tries to move into a tie with the 76ers atop the Atlantic Division.

"We kind of smell the end of the season, with the playoffs coming," Pierce said. "This is the time of year you've got to step it up and get ready."

Gordon Hayward scored 19 points, and Paul Millsap had 16 for the Jazz, who fell into a three-way tie with Denver and Houston in a race for the last two playoff spots in the Western Conference.

In other games:

* At New York, Carmelo Anthony and the Knicks climbed above .500 for the first time since mid-January in overwhelming fashion, scoring 21 straight points in the third quarter and routing the Orlando Magic, 108-86.

The Knicks won for the eighth time in nine games despite playing without Jeremy Lin (knee) and Amare Stoudemire, who could return in 2 to 4 weeks after non-surgical treatment for a bulging disk in his back.

* At Cleveland, Tayshaun Prince matched a season high with 29 points and rookie Brandon Knight added 16 to help the Detroit Pistons beat the Cavaliers, 87-75, their fifth straight loss.

* At Charlotte, Kevin Love had 40 points and 19 rebounds to lift the Minnesota Timberwolves past the Bobcats, 88-83.

* At Toronto, Andrea Bargnani scored 26 points, Jose Calderon had 10 points and 10 assists and the Raptors beat the Denver Nuggets, 105-96.

* At Sacramento, Kawhi Leonard had 19 points and nine rebounds and Manu Ginobili added 20 as the San Antonio Spurs edged the Kings, 117-112.

* At Newark, Deron Williams had 30 points and nine assists and injury-ravaged New Jersey beat the Indiana Pacers, 100-84. The Nets started the game with only 10 healthy players and lost starting center Shelden Williams with an injury to his right eye in the second quarter and backup center Jordan Williams with concussion-like symptoms in the third.

* At Atlanta, Luol Deng scored 22 points and led a flurry of three-pointers as the NBA-leading Chicago Bulls won another game on the road, blowing out the Hawks, 98-77.

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