Celtics snap 3-game slump
Published: Saturday, January 1, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, January 1, 2005 at 12:29 a.m.
BOSTON - The Boston Celtics finally found a way back into the win column.
Paul Pierce scored seven of his 26 points in the final six minutes, including the go-ahead free throw with 34 seconds left, and the Celtics used a 21-11 fourth-quarter rally to beat the Washington Wizards 108-103 on Friday.
Boston snapped a three-game losing streak and won for just the second time in six games.
"The thing I liked about the fourth quarter for us is we kept the ball moving," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. "I thought that helped us defensively."
Gary Payton added 18 points, including four during the pivotal spurt in the fourth. The two teams traded the lead eight times in the final quarter.
"It was a tough loss for us. I thought our guys fought very hard, but things just didn't go our way down the stretch," Washington coach Eddie Jordan said.
The Celtics snapped a 103-all tie when Pierce made one of two free throws with 34 seconds remaining. Jiri Welsch increased the lead to three points on two free throws with 11.5 seconds left.
"Doc (Rivers) and I have talked about getting me more involved in the offense in the fourth quarter," Pierce said. "But my teammates have to get involved too and we got that tonight."
Washington's Antawn Jamison had a chance to tie the game with 6.7 seconds remaining, but his 3-point shot from the right corner hit the rim.
"I didn't think I'd be as wide open as I was," Jamison said. "I rushed my shot a little bit, but it's a shot I have to make."
Ricky Davis, who scored 15 points as Boston's sixth man, made two free throws with 3.3 seconds left to seal the victory.
Larry Hughes tied a season high with 33 points, including 6-of-6 from 3-point range, to lead Washington. Jamison added 29. The Wizards were without leading scorer Gilbert Arenas, who missed the game with flulike symptoms.
"Larry is playing tremendous basketball, not only is he scoring himself, but he's helping his teammates. He has been instrumental in the Wizards' good fortunes," Jordan said.
Raef LaFrentz scored 12 points for the Celtics while Welsch and Tony Allen each had 10.
Seattle scored inside, outside and at the line. In the end, Charlotte just couldn't match it.
Rashard Lewis scored 27 points and Seattle made 11 3-pointers in the SuperSonics' victory over the Bobcats.
Vladimir Radmanovic scored 21 points on 5-for-7 shooting from 3-point range, and Ray Allen added 18 points for the Sonics, who blew a 13-point lead before rallying for the win.
Chris Webber scored 14 of his 25 points in the third quarter to help Sacramento extend its winning streak to nine games.
Peja Stojakovic led the Kings with 26 points, and Mike Bibby and Brad Miller each added 17. Carlos Boozer led the Jazz with 25 points and 10 rebounds.
Carmelo Anthony had 24 points in his first game in two weeks and Denver made Michael Cooper a winner in his NBA coaching debut, ending a six-game losing streak.
Cooper became the interim coach Tuesday after a six-game losing streak and a 13-15 start cost Jeff Bzdelik his job. The Nuggets didn't look a whole lot different under Cooper - good stretches followed by horrible ones - but certainly had plenty of energy.
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