The play of the game

Tedy Bruschi and Bill Belichick were in the crowd for Sunday night’s game, so it’s fitting that Paul Pierce made a football play at the end of Game 5.

With 39 seconds left and the Celtics leading 87-82 Kevin Garnett inbounded the ball from the sideline opposite the Celtics bench.

“We had a timeout,” said Celtics coach Rivers. “We had one timeout. I didn’t want to use it because we could advance the ball with the timeout. So we were going to count to four, and if Kevin didn’t have anybody open, I was going to call it. Before I could get there, I see the ball in the air.”

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Garnett threw the pass to Pierce near the same sideline on which he was standing. Pierce jumped in the air like a wide receiver running an out pattern. He caught the ball under pressure from a Lakers defender, and — unlike a wide receiver — threw another pass to a cutting Rajon Rondo for a layup that would put the Celtics up seven.

“I was just showing off my Randy Moss and my Tom Brady in one play,” said Pierce. “Going up to catch it, then I went to my Brady mode when I was falling out of bounds to find Rondo for the receiving end.”

Rondo’s play was only slightly less spectacular, the Celtics point guard finishing off a reverse layup at full speed.

“They thought it was difficult, but I thought I had an easy look at the rim,” said Rondo.

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