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But despite the highlight baskets, the Jazz stayed close, narrowing it to 88-86 on Jefferson's layup with 4 1/2 minutes to play.
Rondo came up limping on a drive to the basket with 4:55 in the third, left the game and headed to the locker room about a minute later. He returned to the bench to loud cheers from the crowd with under a minute left in the third. The Celtics announced that he "rolled" his right ankle.
Pierce missed 10 of his initial 13 shots before hitting three straight 3s in a 1:17 span midway into the third quarter, with Rondo getting assists eight, nine and 10 on the baskets. Pierce scored 15 in the quarter on 5-of-9 shooting and Hayward scored 10 for Utah.
After Pierce's long-range shooting exhibit, Barbosa drove to the basket and scored six of the points in Boston's 8-0 run that gave the Celtics a 68-60 edge.
The Jazz then scored 10 of the final 15 points in the quarter, closing it to 73-70 at the break.
NOTES: Utah G Earl Watson, close to completing a six-month comeback from knee surgery, rejoined the team, but wasn't in uniform. "We'll see how he goes and how his body responds," coach Tyrone Corbin said. "We're going to increase his activity a little bit and see how he responds to it." ... Jefferson, part of a deal that brought Garnett to the Celtics from Minnesota on July 31, 2003, received lofty pregame praise from Boston coach Doc Rivers. "He just keeps getting better and better," Rivers said. "The one thing I never thought I'd say about Al is: he's just becoming a better passer." ... The Celtics' next home game is a rare Saturday afternoon home contest against Toronto at 12:30. They face Brooklyn first, though, on Thursday. ... The Jazz play the third of a four-game road trip Friday at Philadelphia. ... Jefferson received a nice ovation in pregame introductions.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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