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February 10. 2013 9:44PM

Celtics nip Nuggets in 3 OT


Boston Celtics shooting guard Jason Terry (4) celebrates against the Denver Nuggets during the first half at TD Garden. (Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports)

BOSTON - The teams with the two longest active winning streaks in the NBA got together at TD Garden on Sunday night, and it seemed only fitting they would need five extra minutes to decide a winner.

But TEN extra minutes?

Fifteen?

Jason Terry, who missed his first five shots in extra time, nailed a 3-pointer with 1:33 left, then stole the ball from Andre Miller as the Celtics earned their seventh straight win, a 118-114 triple-overtime triumph that ended Denver's nine-game run.

Miller, who had 15 points, six assists and five rebounds off the bench, missed a 3-pointer that could have given the Nuggets the lead in the closing seconds. Terry (26 points off the bench) hit a meaningless layup at the buzzer.

Paul Pierce, who set up Terry's winning shot, had a triple-double, compiling 27 points, 14 assists and 14 rebounds in a whopping 54 minutes. Kevin Garnett, playing a season-high 47 minutes, hit three jumpers in the third overtime and finished with 20 points, 18 rebounds and six assists.

Ty Lawson's basket with 0.8 seconds left in regulation, after a controversial out-of-bounds call, forced the first overtime, while Jeff Green's 3-pointer from the left corner with 23.8 seconds left sent the game to the second OT. Pierce, who missed a critical free throw with 32.5 second left in the second OT, forced the third with a contested 3-pointer with 5.2 seconds remaining.

Lawson led Denver (33-19) with 29 points, nine assists and six rebounds. Danilo Gallinari had 18 points, including a deep 3-pointer that tied the game at 113-113, and 10 rebounds, while Kenneth Faried posted 14 points and 12 boards.

Terry's winning 3-pointer was Boston's 13th of the game, on 30 tries.

The Celtics (27-23) blew an 11-point, third-quarter lead but managed to move to 5-4 in overtime games.

Denver suffered its first OT defeat in four tries.

The Nuggets rallied after losing Andre Iguodala, who suffered a right cervical strain in the third quarter and didn't return.


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