BOSTON – Kevin Garnett found Keyon Dooling for a 3-pointer. Then Garnett hit a fallaway jumper. Then he grabbed a rebound to start a fast break that ended with Avery Bradley at the foul line.

Just like that, the Boston Celtics broke open a tie game and took a seven-point lead they never relinquished.

Garnett had 23 points and 10 rebounds Wednesday night to lead Boston to a 94-82 victory against the Utah Jazz and move the Celtics back into a tie for first place in the Atlantic Division.

Garnett had 10 points and three assists in the fourth quarter, when Boston recovered from losing an 18-point lead.

“He’s been playing like that a lot in the second half of the season,” said Paul Pierce, who scored 20 points for the Celtics. “We’ve been going to him a lot out there. And he’s been inspiring on both ends of the floor.”

Brandon Bass scored 19 points and Rajon Rondo had 14 assists for Boston, which won for the fifth time in six tries to tie Philadelphia atop the Atlantic Division. After playing Friday night at Minnesota, the Celtics play seven games in 11 nights against likely playoff teams.

“We kind of smell the end of the season with the playoffs coming,” Pierce said. “This is the time of year you’ve got to step it up and get ready.”

Al Jefferson had 18 points and 12 rebounds for the Jazz, scoring 10 in a 17-3 third-quarter run that turned an 18-point deficit into a two-possession game. The Jazz tied it early in the fourth before Boston scored the next seven points — with Garnett contributing on all of them — to pull away.

“He’s just so experienced and such a competitor,” Jazz Coach Tyrone Corbin said. “He’s going to do whatever he can do to help his team win. He did it on both ends of the floor tonight. He made the big shots; defensively, he fought and clawed.”

Garnett and Jefferson, who were traded for each other in 2007, had a physical matchup all game, picking up matching technicals with six minutes left. Even in the final seconds with the outcome settled, Garnett wouldn’t let Jefferson shoot.

“Just another game,” Jefferson said. “That’s all I’m going to say about that.”

Utah had won seven of its previous eight games.

Gordon Hayward scored 19 points and Paul Millsap had 16 for the Jazz, who fell into a three-way tie with Denver and Houston for the last two playoff spots in the West.

“Any time you have to battle from 18 points down, you basically have to start over again,” said Hayward, who had back-to-back blocks in the fourth as the Jazz kept within reach.

“That’s definitely something we’ve shown on this road trip. We have fight. We’re never going to give up. The heart on this team is great. We’ve just got to be a little bit better in the first half and not get down so we don’t have to fight back like that.”

The Celtics took a 44-29 lead with 2:22 left in the half on consecutive alley-oops from Rondo to Ryan Hollins. Boston opened a 61-43 lead with 7:40 to play in the third quarter.

But the Jazz scored 17 of the next 20 — 10 from Jefferson — to make it a four-point game. They then ran off six straight to make it 66-66, scoring the first five of the fourth quarter on Enes Kanter’s jumper and a three-point play by Alec Burks.

That’s when the Celtics snapped out of their slump.

After Garnett put up an assist, basket and rebound in quick succession, Bradley hit a pair of free throws that made it 73-66.

The Jazz never got closer than three points after that.