Pierce had 19 points, eight rebounds and eight assists to make up for a poor outside shooting night and Al Jefferson had his first career double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds Wednesday night to lead the Celtics to an 84-83 win over the Golden State Warriors.
"It was an ugly game, man," Pierce said. "It was a grinding kind of game (for me). I really don't worry if I miss a shot. I just tried to grind it out."
"We didn't get a very good shot off, so you give them credit there and it's a tough way to lose," Golden State's Mike Dunleavy said.
Celtics coach Doc Rivers agreed with his team's assessment of their own play.
"Winning ugly tonight is, I guess, the theme," Rivers said. "We won the game; we got some stops when we needed to get some stops."
Boston led 84-79 with 1:30 to go before Golden State narrowed it to 84-83 on Clifford Robinson's layup with 44 seconds left.
Payton added 13 points for the Celtics, who won their fifth straight home game.
Robinson led the Warriors with 18 points. Troy Murphy, who had a season-high 30 points against the Celtics in Oakland a month ago, had 15 points and 16 rebounds.
"If there's a bright side, here on the road shorthanded and we've got a shot to win the game," Golden State coach Mike Montgomery said.
The Warriors were without guard Jason Richardson, who missed his third straight game with a sprained left ankle he injured at practice Dec. 31.
Pierce went 7-for-20 from the floor, with all of his baskets coming on drives or layups. He didn't hit a jumper, and his last one was an airball late in the game.
"It was jump shots. It was turning the ball over. It was ugly because no one got into sync," Boston's Walter McCarty said. "We were taking very quick shots and nobody got into rhythm."
The Warriors had closed a 10-point deficit to 77-75 on Dunleavy's 3-pointer with 3:58 left, but Pierce and Payton had driving baskets to push it to 81-75.
The Celtics led 72-64 after three quarters and the teams played over three minutes before getting the first points of the fourth when Davis' driving basket pushed Boston's lead to 10 with 8:51 to play.
Boston, which led 45-43 at the half, used a 10-2 quarter-closing run to go up by eight at the break. McCarty and Marcus Banks capped the spree with 3-pointers 39 seconds apart.
Payton was back after missing Monday's win over New Orleans with a strained left hamstring. ... The Warriors played the first of four consecutive road games. ... Davis had his hair back in
cornrows after using the Ben Wallace-type look for a few games. ... Jefferson turned 20 on Tuesday.