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Boston overcomes eight-point deficit in final minutes

3/16/2002

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -- Memphis Grizzlies coach Sidney Lowe knew
his matchup problems against the Boston Celtics were at the power
forward spot. He had no one to guard Antoine Walker.

Walker made Lowe's pregame prediction come true Friday night,
scoring 38 points as the Celtics overcame an eight-point deficit in
the final 1:50 to defeat the Grizzlies 103-97.

"It's very disappointing to play hard for 47 minutes, to play
well and then give the game away," Lowe said.

Celtics coach Jim O'Brien was aware his team was lucky to
escape.

"I thought we really stole one at the end," O'Brien said.
"Our guys never gave up. They never felt like they were out of the
game. It is a great credit to them under the adverse
circumstances."

The Celtics have won seven in a row, but the streak looked in
jeopardy with just less than two minutes to play.

Memphis led 97-89 after Grant Long hit a pair of free throws
with 1:54 to play, but the Grizzlies would not score again. Rodney
Rogers' three-point play with 15.2 seconds left put the Celtics in
front for good, 98-97.

Walker hit a pair of free throws with just more than 11 seconds to
play, then nailed a shot from past midcourt as time expired.

"We hung in there, and with two minutes to go, we got up,"
Walker said. "It is a huge win for us on the road."

Paul Pierce added 20 for Boston, and Tony Delk, who hit a
3-pointer down the stretch, had 11. Vitaly Potapenko finished with
10 points and 15 rebounds.

Memphis had six players in double figures led by Pau Gasol's 22
points, 12 rebounds, six assists and six blocks. Grant Long had 19
points and Jason Williams had 17 points and nine assists. Tony
Massenburg, Shane Battier and Will Solomon finished with 11 each.

Boston led 53-51 at the half as Walker dominated the offensive
end with 22 points, including 15 in the second quarter. The
Grizzlies tried Gasol and then Stromile Swift on defense against
the Celtics' second-leading scorer, with little success.

"You let Antoine Walker go one-on-one with Pau Gasol, and Pau
Gasol is going to get in foul trouble or Antoine's going to
score," Lowe said before the game. "Ten out of 10 times, that's
going to happen."

Williams led the Grizzlies with 12 at the half, while Massenburg
added 11.

Walker cooled off slightly in the third, scoring only nine
points in the quarter, and the Grizzlies stayed close, trailing
77-75 entering the fourth.

The eight-point lead with just less than two minutes to play was
Memphis's biggest of the fourth quarter. But the Grizzlies made
several mistakes down the stretch, including turning the ball over
on the inbounds pass trailing 98-97 with 14 seconds to play.

"I am very disappointed that we didn't execute properly in the
last couple of minutes," Lowe said. "All we had to do was the
same thing we had done to get the lead. We just stopped doing
that."

Game notes
The Grizzlies still were without guards Brevin Knight and Rodney Buford. Knight has missed nine of the last 11 games with a
series of foot and hip problems, while Buford missed his second
with back spasms. ...The game marked Pierce's 49th consecutive game
in double figures and Walker's 29th. Both have scored in double
figures in all but two of the Celtics' games. ...Pierce and Walker
have started all 65 games for the Celtics. ... Celtics reserve Eric
Williams scored his 3,500th career point in the third. ...The
Celtics' 34 attempts from beyond the arc were the second highest by
an opponent in Grizzlies history, and Walker's 33 field goal
attempts also was the second highest by an opponent. ...The
Celtics' 17 steals were a season high by a Grizzlies' opponent.