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First impressions: Celtics 98, Trail Blazers 95 (OT)

1/23/2010

BOSTON -- Instant reaction after the Boston Celtics posted a 98-95 overtime triumph over the Portland Trail Blazers Friday night at the TD Garden:

How the game was won: Celtics guard Ray Allen shrugged off a poor-shooting performance to bury a go-ahead 3-pointer in overtime as Boston escaped after watching the Blazers rally in the fourth quarter to force the extra session. Celtics captain Paul Pierce scored a team-high 24 points, but fouled out driving to the basket for a game-winning attempt in the final moments of regulation. Andre Miller poured in a game-high 28 points for the injury depleted Blazers.

Turning point: Ray Allen, just 2 of 13 on the night and having missed a technical free throw in overtime, drained a 3-pointer with 41.3 seconds to play in the extra session to put Boston on top, 96-95. Moments later, Allen corralled a long rebound and fed teammate Tony Allen for a fastbreak dunk with 12.5 seconds to go.

Stat of the game:Ray Allen finished 3 of 14 overall from the floor and 2 of 4 from the free throw line, but produced the biggest shot of the night when it mattered most.

Unsung hero: Tony Allen, quiet as of late, chipped in eight points on 4 of 5 shooting, finishing with a team-best, plus-10 in plus/minus category.

What it means: At this point, beggars can't be choosers, and the Celtics will take an ugly win, snapping a three-game skid. Garnett's return provided a spark, but the Celtics still struggled in the second half and let the Trail Blazers hang around until the buzzer.