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NBA Celtics Celebrate Wild Comeback to Top Nets in Playoffs - 2002-05-26

The Boston Celtics are celebrating the biggest fourth-quarter comeback victory in the history of the National Basketball Association playoffs.

The Celtics, trailing New Jersey by 21 points after three quarters, outscored the Nets 41-16 in the final period Saturday in Boston to win, 94-90.

The previous record was eight years ago when the Phoenix Suns came from 18 points down to beat the Houston Rockets in overtime.

Boston star Paul Pierce, who had a meager nine points entering the fourth quarter, finished with 28 to lead the unprecedented comeback. He had missed 12 of his first 14 shots. After the game, Pierce told reporters he noticed New Jersey reserve players laughing at the Celtics during the break after three quarters, as the Nets had led by as many as 26 points.

Pierce credited Boston's boisterous fans with intimidating the Nets during the comeback, saying the crowd was so loud he could not hear himself. New Jersey hit only four of 22 shots in the final quarter, while committing six turnovers.

New Jersey star Jason Kidd said his team let a golden opportunity slip away, admitting that it hurts, but noting the series is not over. Boston now leads the best-of-seven Eastern Conference final series two games to one.

The winner will face either the Los Angeles Lakers or Sacramento Kings for the NBA championship. The Kings lead the Western Conference series, two games to one, with game four coming up Sunday in Los Angeles. The Lakers have won the last two NBA titles.