Sunday, September 23, 2018
Sports

Celtics win as Pierce takes final bow in Boston

BOSTON — Isaiah Thomas bumped into Paul Pierce tooling around Boston on Saturday, then stole the spotlight from the former Celtics captain Sunday.

With the crowd uncertain whether to cheer loudest for the Celtics or for Pierce, Thomas scored 28 to lead Boston to its seventh straight victory, 107-102 over the Clippers in Pierce's final game in the Garden.

Thomas backed off Pierce in the final seconds, with the game out of reach to let the 2008 NBA Finals MVP sink one more basket on the parquet floor he called home for 15 seasons. After starting the game — his first appearance for the Clippers since New Year's Eve — Pierce, 39, sat on the bench until the game was out of reach.

"I wanted him to shoot and make it," Thomas said. "That would have been the perfect way to go out. He did it the right way."

With fans already standing, Pierce sank a 3 for his only points. "I'm glad I was able to cap it off," said Pierce, who is retiring at the end of the season. "At least I can say I put one last bucket in."

Clippers coach Doc Rivers said he told his players before the game to pay attention. "When you finish your career, remember what's going to happen in five minutes," he recalled telling them. "All of you aren't going to be Hall of Famers, but just remember that when you finish your career, you're empty and you can walk away with no regrets. That's what Paul's doing tonight."

Rivers added: "Him making that shot just, I don't know what the heck that is. That only happens here."

GAME HIGHLIGHTS: Russell Westbrook scored 19 of his 42 in the fourth quarter, leading the host Thunder to a 105-99 win over the Blazers. … Kyle Lowry played through illness and injury to finish with 15 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists, and the visiting Raptors beat the Nets 103-95 to end a two-game skid.

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