Garnett return helps Celtics edge Portland in OT

BOSTON (Reuters) - Kevin Garnett returned from injury to help the Boston Celtics rally for a nail-biting 98-95 overtime victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday.

"You know he's going to knock that shot down," Portland coach Nate McMillan told reporters. "He missed a first one and that usually doesn't happen again."

Allen then assisted on a Tony Allen dunk to provide the winning margin, and the Trail Blazers' final attempt was a Rudy Fernandez three-pointer that was off the mark.

Portland (26-18) had trailed by five points with 2:35 to go in regulation but Martell Webster made a three-pointer and then a 22-footer to send the contest into overtime.

Webster finished with 19 while Andre Miller recorded 28 points, eight rebounds and eight assists in the absence of the Blazers' leading scorer Brandon Roy (hamstring).

Paul Pierce tallied a team-high 24 for Boston (28-13), which snapped a three-game losing streak.

The Celtics had been inconsistent and gone 4-6 without the presence of Garnett, the 2007-08 Defensive Player of the Year.

In his first game since December 28, Garnett battled foul trouble in the first half but Boston jumped out early and led by as much as 11 in the second.

"I felt good," Garnett said. "I thought I had some decent energy."

Despite shooting just 38 percent from the field, Portland chipped away at the lead and finally caught the home team in the fourth. Forward LaMarcus Aldridge had 19 points and 10 rebounds for the Blazers.

Rajon Rondo had 19 and nine assists while Allen persevered through a 3-for-14 shooting game to hit the big shot in the end. (Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by John O'Brien)