TORONTO -- On this day, at least, Ray Allen was the obvious choice among Boston's Big Three to get the ball with the game on the line.
"A lot has been said about this team, what's going to happen at the end of games, who's going to take that shot," Allen said. "It's a joy to be out there offensively and for the coach to be able to draw up and play and there's three options."
T.J. Ford tied it at 95 on a 3-pointer with 4.4 seconds left in overtime, but Allen won it with a 3 from the corner on Boston's final possession. Paul Pierce inbounded the ball to Allen, who came off a Garnett screen to drain the tiebreaking basket.
"That was the play we drew up, for Ray to come off," Pierce said. "We had second and third options but the first option was open. We got the ball to him and executed our play."
Kevin Garnett scored 10 of his 23 points in overtime and added 13 rebounds, giving him double-doubles in both of his games for Boston this season.
Toronto chose not to double-team Garnett in the extra session, and he took full advantage.
"I knew at some point they were going to stop doubling," Garnett said. "I just had to be patient and get the ball where I wanted it."
"I knew tonight was going to be a night where I had to put up a lot of shots because they weren't leaving our shooters," Ford said.
A game that started slowly ended in a wild finish, with one lead change and five ties down the stretch.
"Everybody that watched the game tonight got their money's worth," Allen said. "It was definitely fun to play in and be a part of."
The Celtics played without head coach Doc Rivers, who left Toronto early Sunday after his father died in Chicago. Assistant Tom Thibodeau took over for Rivers.
"Our thoughts are with Doc and so that makes it special, the fact that we were able to win for him," Thibodeau said.
Garnett said the Celtics didn't falter without Rivers on the bench.
"Thib did a great job tonight," Garnett said. "He's a defensively sound kind of guy."
Rivers, who addressed the team before leaving prior to the game, remained on his player's minds.
"We played hard tonight and we're glad to be able to get this win so Doc won't have to worry about the ship not being right," Allen said.
Allen, who made 11 of 16 shots, passed 17,000 points for his career with his first of two 3-pointers in overtime. He has 17,004 career points.
Boston held an 11-point lead after three quarters before Toronto rallied behind Bosh, whose basket made it 78-76 with under 1 minute left. Ford tied the game at 78 with a lay-up with 27 seconds remaining.
Pierce had a chance to win the game in regulation but his jumper from just outside the top of the key went wide, sending the game into overtime.
Allen scored 13 first-quarter points as Boston built a 23-14 lead. The Celtics led 38-31 at the half.
- Toronto forward Joey Graham (strained left quad) was placed on the inactive list before the game. Graham, who is listed as day-to-day, was replaced by forward Jamario Moon.
- Bosh and Andrea Bargnani combined to miss all 12 of their field goal attempts in the first half.