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March 28. 2012 10:21PM

Garnett powers Celtics past Jazz

Kevin Garnett scored 23 points and pulled down 10 rebounds and Brandon Bass hit some key jumpers in the fourth quarter as the host Boston Celtics pulled into a tie for first place in the Atlantic Division with a 94-82 win over Utah on Wednesday.

Paul Pierce added 20 points and Rajon Rondo handed out 14 assists for the Celtics (28-22), who are tied for the No. 4 spot in the Eastern Conference, though Philadelphia (28-22) owns the head-to-head tiebreaker.

The Jazz are locked in a three-way tie with the Houston Rockets and Denver Nuggets for the final two playoff spots in the West.

Boston grabbed the lead in the second quarter on Wednesday, doubling up Utah, 28-14, in the frame. Garnett and Pierce combined for 11 points as the Celtics took a 46-35 lead into the break.

They stretched it to 61-43 early in the third before Utah got back into it, bridging the third and fourth quarters with a 23-5 burst to knot it at 66-66 with 11:07 remaining.

Keyon Dooling hit a 3-pointer and Garnett scored to keep Boston clear. Bass, who finished with 19 points, hit back-to-back jumpers with just under four minutes left to push it back to double figures.

Gordon Hayward scored 19 points and former Celtic Al Jefferson collected 18 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Jazz.


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