Celtics top Magic

Published: Monday, January 27, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 27, 2003 at 1:14 a.m.

In Boston, Paul Pierce was relieved to learn just before Sunday's game that NBA scoring leader Tracy McGrady wouldn't play for Orlando. He was even happier after the first triple-double of his career.

Enlarge |

Boston Celtics' Paul Pierce, top, and Orlando Magic's Jacque Vaughn, bottom, battle for a loose ball in the third quarter in Boston, Sunday. The Celtics won 91-83.

AP Photo/Chitose Suzuki

``I'll take it,'' Pierce said of McGrady's absence. ``Who wants the leading scorer playing?''

Pierce had 27 points, 13 rebounds and a career-high 13 assists as the Boston Celtics beat the Magic 91-83.

McGrady missed the game to be with his fiance, who gave birth to a daughter Saturday night in an Orlando-area hospital. Jeryl Sasser started in his place and had a career-high 26 points with 10 rebounds and four steals.

``We hung in there and kept the game at our pace,'' Orlando coach Doc Rivers said. ``I don't think Pierce ever worked so hard for his points.''

He had to since the Magic didn't have to worry about guarding Antoine Walker, who missed his third straight game with a sprained right knee. Boston has won two of them and six of its last seven.

``I just took it upon myself to really elevate my game,'' Pierce said. ``I haven't had 13 assists since high school.''

Orlando made a late run, cutting the margin to 85-81 on Sasser's 3-pointer with 1:09 to go. Pierce then hit two free throws, but Pat Garrity made a basket for the Magic.

J.R. Bremer hit two free throws for Boston, but Orlando still had a chance until Mike Miller missed an 18-footer with 30 seconds left and Jacque Vaughn failed on a layup attempt with 23 seconds to go. Pierce then hit two free throws for the game's final points.

Orlando's starting forwards shot very poorly with Miller going 2-of-18 and Garrity 2-of-12.

``Sometimes that's what happens when you miss a few that you know are really contested,'' Garrity said. ``Open ones are even that much harder to make.''

Reader comments posted to this article may be published in our print edition. All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.

Comments are currently unavailable on this article

▲ Return to Top