Celtics sweat out win over Pelicans

Wed Apr 6, 2016 11:55pm EDT
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(The Sports Xchange) - Brad Stevens had a feeling his team, coming off a five-game western trip and battling for playoff position, could be in for a rough time Wednesday night.

Yes, even against the decimated New Orleans Pelicans.

"I thought we looked a little road weary, but on those nights you have to find a way," the Boston Celtics coach said after his club escaped with a 104-97 victory over the undermanned but pesky Pelicans. "I was actually pretty pleased because I knew it was going to be really hard, due to the circumstances of everything."

The Celtics saw a 16-point, early-third quarter lead shrink to three, then grow back to 14 late in the quarter, but the Pelicans came back and had a chance to win.

New Orleans rallied despite being without injured players averaging a total of 100 points per game.

"They played really, really well and really hard," Stevens said after Boston's third consecutive win left the Celtics (46-32) in a virtual tie with the Atlanta Hawks for third place in the Eastern Conference. The Heat (45-32) are a half-game back in fifth, and the Charlotte Hornets (45-33) are a half-game behind Miami in sixth.

The Celtics play three of their last four games at home, the only road game against Atlanta on Saturday night.

Avery Bradley hit a jumper to snap a 93-93 tie, and Isaiah Thomas scored 32 points for the victory.

Bradley shook off a poor shooting night by nailing a late 3-pointer.   Continued...

Apr 6, 2016; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas (4) goes to the basket between New Orleans Pelicans center Alexis Ajinca (42), center Kendrick Perkins (5) and forward Dante Cunningham (44) during the first half at TD Garden. Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports