Celtics' Pierce drains six 3-pointers as Boston rips down Nets

Posted: Thursday, March 14, 2002

BOSTON -- Paul Pierce scored 23 of his 32 points in the second half, hitting six 3-pointers Wednesday night as the Boston Celtics gained ground on the Eastern Conference-leading New Jersey Nets with a 97-89 victory.

In a playoff-like atmosphere not experienced by either team in years, Antoine Walker added 30 -- including a game-clinching 3-pointer -- as Boston won its sixth straight to pull within three games of the Nets. New Jersey lost its seventh straight road game.

Vitaly Potapenko had 12 rebounds, and Kenny Anderson had 10 assists and a key basket for Boston after the Nets erased an eight-point deficit to tie the score 89-all in the final minutes.

Jason Kidd had 23 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists for the Nets, scoring 10 of their last 13 points.

Pistons 85, Cavaliers 84

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- Corliss Williamson scored 11 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter as the Detroit Pistons overcame the absence of Jerry Stackhouse.

Trajan Langdon made a desperation shot with 1.1 seconds left, but his foot was on the 3-point line. After a timeout, the Pistons were able to inbound the ball and run out the clock.

Williamson added a season-high 13 rebounds. Stackhouse sat out with nagging shoulder and hip problems. Chucky Atkins led the Pistons with 19 and Cliff Robinson added 15.

Detroit's win was just its second in five games and moved the Pistons a half-game ahead of idle Milwaukee atop the Central Division.

Hawks 105, Nuggets 102

ATLANTA -- Jason Terry scored 31 points and Shareef Abdur-Rahim added 25 as Atlanta gained its 12th straight home win over the Nuggets.

The Nuggets, losing their sixth straight on the road, haven't won in Atlanta since Dec. 10, 1988. Denver was led by 20 points from Tim Hardaway and 16 from Antonio McDyess.

After trailing 79-59 with 4:54 left in the third quarter, the Nuggets went on a 39-16 run that began with a 13-0 stretch. George McCloud hit a 3-pointer from the right wing that gave Denver its biggest lead, 98-95 with 2:18 remaining.

Terry hit 11 of his last 12 shots after going 0-for-2 in the first quarter. He was 5-for-7 on 3s and 4-for-5 from the foul line.

Magic 119, Suns 114, OT

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Troy Hudson had a career-high 34 points and Tracy McGrady scored all 10 of Orlando's points in overtime.

McGrady finished with 35 points, going 4-of-6 from the field and 2-for-4 from the foul line in overtime. Overall, he was 14-of-28 and added eight rebounds, eight assists, three steals and two blocked shots.

Hudson made 14 of a career-high 23 field goal attempts and was 5-of-10 on 3-point shots. Horace Grant had 17 points and nine rebounds and Monty Williams added 16 points.

The Suns were led by Stephon Marbury with 31 points and 10 assists.

Kings 92, 76ers 88

PHILADELPHIA -- Chris Webber, playing with a dislocated right index finger, had 22 points and 11 rebounds.

Peja Stojakovic added 21 points and Mike Bibby had 12, including a key jumper in the final minutes as the Kings won their fourth straight and improved the NBA's best record to 46-17.

Webber hurt his finger at the end of the first quarter, but returned midway through the second. The injury seemed to affect his shooting. He missed 11 of 13 shots at one point before scoring 11 in the fourth.

Allen Iverson scored 32 points, Derrick Coleman added 20 and Dikembe Mutombo had 14 points and 17 rebounds for the Sixers, who had won four in a row.

Rockets 96, Timberwolves 95

MINNEAPOLIS -- Steve Francis scored 21 points, including the game-winning free throw with 9.7 seconds left, as the Rockets sent the Wolves to their fifth straight defeat.

The Wolves held a late lead but collapsed during the final minutes as Houston took advantage of sloppy passing and closed the game with a 19-7 run.

Eddie Griffin made it 95-95 on a 3-pointer with 44.4 seconds left, and Thomas stripped Garnett under the basket. Garnett fouled Francis on a drive, and Francis hit his second free throw after missing the first.

The Wolves had one last chance, but Wally Szczerbiak overthrew Garnett, who tipped the errant pass to Anthony Peeler, who overthrew Szczerbiak for a backcourt violation.

Clippers 96, Wizards 75

LOS ANGELES -- Michael Olowokandi had 22 points and 11 rebounds, and Elton Brand recorded his 10th straight double-double.

Brand had 19 points, 15 rebounds, five assists and four blocked shots as the Clippers extended their winning streak to four games -- their longest since they won four in a row nearly 13 months ago.

The Clippers, who had six players score in double figures, trail Utah by one game in the race for the eighth and final Western Conference playoff berth.

Richard Hamilton scored 21 points and Courtney Alexander added 13 for the Wizards, who have lost five straight, seven of nine since Michael Jordan underwent arthroscopic knee surgery, and 12 of 14 overall. They trail Charlotte by 1 1/2 games for the last Eastern Conference playoff spot.

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