BOSTON (AP) – Ray Allen was just 2 for 13 when he hit a 3-pointer with 42 seconds left in overtime to give the Boston Celtics a 98-95 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday night.
LaMarcus Aldridge followed with a missed 3-pointer, and after a scramble at midcourt Allen wound up with the ball and passed it ahead to Tony Allen for the breakaway dunk. Rudy Fernandez had a pair of 3-point attempts in the final 10 seconds, but both missed.
Kevin Garnett returned after missing 10 games with a hyperextended right knee and scored 13 points. Paul Pierce scored 24 for the Celtics before fouling out on an offensive foul with 1.1 seconds left in regulation.
Andre Miller scored 28 for Portland, with eight assists and eight rebounds, and Aldridge had 19 points and 10 rebounds. Martell Webster scored 19 and Juwan Howard had 12 rebounds for the Blazers.
Rajon Rondo scored 19 with nine assists for Boston, and Kendrick Perkins had 11 rebounds. Ray Allen played a team high 42 minutes, 42 seconds, but he was 3 for 14 from the floor, 1 for 5 from 3-point range and he twice missed foul shots after the Trail Blazers were called for defensive 3 seconds.
But Allen didn’t stop shooting, and he finally came through in the 53rd minute after missing another 3-point attempt on the previous possession. Aldridge took a 3-pointer as the shot clock expired, and the ball was batted around toward midcourt before a Blazer, trying to save it, tipped it away from Tony Allen and right to Ray Allen.
Garnett had not played since hyperextending his right knee against Golden State on Dec. 28 game. Since then, the Celtics were 4-6, bringing a three-game losing streak into Friday night and a three-game losing streak at home that was their longest since assembling the current Big Three.
Without Garnett, the Celtics gave up 99.4 points per game – it was 91.9 before he was hurt – and during the three-game skid they were outscored 32-9 on second-chance points. On Friday, Portland outscored Boston 22-8 following an offensive rebound.
The Blazers had their own injury problems.
Already without centers Joel Przybilla and Greg Oden, who had season-ending knee injuries, the team sent star guard Brandon Roy home from the road trip after he injured his right hamstring; he will miss four games. Then Jerryd Bayless, who started in place of Roy on Friday night, left in the third quarter with a sprained left ankle and did not return.
Webster hit a 3-pointer at the shot clock buzzer to make it 91-89, but after Ray Allen missed again Webster stepped on the sideline with 1:03 left, giving the ball back to Boston. Rondo sliced through the lane but missed a layup, then Webster worked off a pick by Howard to hit a jumper from the top of the key that tied it 91-all with 34 seconds left.
Pierce dribbled down the clock before missing a runner, but Rondo got the rebound. After a timeout, Pierce drove and Miller drew a charge, giving the Blazers the ball with 1.1 seconds left.
Miller threw an alley-oop to Aldridge on the inbounds pass, but he left it on the front of the rim and the game went to overtime.
NOTES: With Portland coach Nate McMillan nursing a ruptured Achilles tendon, assistant Monty Williams was up most of the game calling out plays and interacting with the officials. McMillan hurt himself when he took part in a practice so his banged-up team would have enough bodies to play 5-on-5. … Celtics F Brian Scalabrine was out with a sore right shoulder. … The Celtics are 5-0 against the Northwest Division.