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Key run leads Celtics to fourth consecutive victory

3/8/2002

BOSTON -- Paul Pierce has a simple explanation for the
Boston Celtics' three-game winning streak.

"Everything's starting to come together," Pierce said. "We're
starting to feel comfortable with each other and the new guys are
starting to understand their role. This is what we envisioned after
the trade -- a team that can score a lot of points."

Pierce scored 31 points and Antoine Walker added 24, and both
hit 3-pointers during a 16-3 run that lifted Boston to a 117-92
victory over Detroit on Friday night.

Pierce, Walker, Walter McCarty and Rodney Rogers had 3-pointers,
and Pierce and Walker also had layups during spurt that gave the
Celtics a 78-60 lead in the third quarter.

The Celtics, who lost four consecutive games before winning
three straight, have won four straight at home against Detroit.

Boston, which acquired Rogers and Tony Delk in a five-player
trade with Phoenix on Feb. 20, has topped 100 points in three
straight games.

"We didn't just add two new guys, we added veterans who can
really score," Celtics coach Jim O'Brien said. "If you put five
guys on the floor and all of them can shoot the three, you are
going to get good looks."

The Pistons lost for just the third time in 12 games and dropped
their second road contest in the last 11.

"The effort wasn't what it had to be to even be competitive,"
Pistons coach Rick Carlisle said. "My concern is we are starting
to get into a trend of giving up 50 points and better than 50
percent shooting in the first half."

Pierce got Boston started with 6:01 remaining in the third
quarter with a 3-pointer and a layup. Less than five minutes later,
Rogers capped the run with a 3-pointer that put the Celtics ahead
by 18.

It was the third straight game Boston scored more than 100
points.

Kenny Anderson and McCarty each added 15 points for the Celtics,
while Rogers had 14.

Chucky Atkins led the Pistons with 17 points, while Ben Wallace
finished with 15 rebounds. Detroit's leading scorer, Jerry
Stackhouse, was held to 12 points on 3-of-12 shooting.

"When I caught the ball, I was basically looking at three
guys," Stackhouse said. "It led to a night of frustration."

The Celtics took their largest lead of the first half, 42-29, on
Walker's layup with 7:27 left in the second quarter. Detroit went
on a 15-4 run to close within two points.

Game notes
The Celtics are 2-0 since center Vitaly Potapenko was
inserted into the starting lineup for an injured Tony Battie, who
missed his third straight game with a leg injury. ... Detroit
forward Brian Cardinal got his first action since being activated
from the injured list on Thursday. ... Wallace has either led or
tied for the team lead in rebounds in 57 of the 60 games this
season. He also has double-figure rebounds 47 times. ... Rogers'
family was in attendance and got a chance to meet Celtics vice
chairman of the board and president Red Auerbach.