Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 2)

Series starts 11/9

Game 1: Saturday, November 9th
Game 2: Friday, December 20th

Celtics 105

(4-2, 3-1 away)

7:00 PM ET, November 9, 2002

Target Center, Minneapolis, MN

1 2 3 4 T
BOS 24 24 29 28105
MIN 31 26 19 2399

Top Performers

Boston: A. Walker 31 Pts, 8 Reb, 3 Ast, 2 Stl, 1 Blk

Minnesota: R. Nesterovic 22 Pts, 13 Reb, 3 Ast, 2 Blk

Walker, Pierce help Celtics win fourth straight game

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- The end of Antoine Walker's 3-point slump opened things up for Paul Pierce.

Antoine Walker

Walker made nine 3-pointers and scored 31 points and Pierce had a big fourth quarter as the Boston Celtics won their fourth straight game Saturday night, 105-99 over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

"Antoine got them there,'' Minnesota's Kevin Garnett said. "And Paul finished it off.''

Walker, who was 9-for-39 on 3-pointers coming into the game, shot 9-of-13 to help Boston overcome Pierce's struggles through the first three quarters. Pierce, averaging 26 points, scored just eight on 3-of-13 shooting through three quarters.

"The 3s hadn't been falling,'' Walker said. "Finally I got it going tonight. The guys did a great job finding me.''

Walker keyed a 14-2 run to close the third quarter, making three 3s -- the last of which banked in with 0.3 seconds left to give Boston a 77-76 lead. Boston made the run with the Wolves' top two perimeter defenders, Garnett and Kendall Gill, resting on the bench.

Then Pierce took over, scoring 12 in the fourth. His 3-pointer with 3:30 remaining put the Celtics up 96-92, and he hit two free throws and a fadeaway jumper to make it 100-92.

"The fourth quarter is one of my strong points,'' Pierce said. "I thrive off the pressure.''

Pierce missed his first career triple-double by one rebound, finishing with 20 points and a career-high 10 assists.

Meanwhile, the Wolves went more than four minutes down the stretch without a field goal. They cut the lead to 100-96 on Gill's free throws and had the ball, but Walker deflected a pass and Shammond Williams recovered the loose ball and dunked to put the game away.

Williams scored a season-high 18 points.

For the game, the Celtics hit 14 3s -- the most in the NBA this season.

"We knew they live and die by the 3,'' Garnett said. "At the end of the third quarter, they really turned the momentum and we couldn't regain it. We put ourselves in a bind.''

Garnett scored 24 points and 11 rebounds for his seventh double-double in as many games.

Troy Hudson and Rasho Nesterovic added 22 points each for Minnesota, which lost for the first time in five home games.

Minnesota played without guard Wally Szczerbiak because of soreness in his left knee. Szczerbiak is day-to-day.

Wolves coach Flip Saunders said a metal support Szczerbiak wore in his left shoe Thursday against Milwaukee caused him to run awkwardly and aggravate the knee. The support was needed to protect a foot injury that caused him to miss the season's first five games.

"Without Wally, we're not conducive to playing perimeter teams,'' Saunders said. "And they're one of the top perimeter teams.''

Nesterovic scored 14 points in the first half as the Wolves built a 57-48 lead at the break. Nesterovic's previous season-high was 12 points.

Game notes

Nesterovic moved into third place on the Wolves list with 267 career blocks, passing Felton Spencer. Garnett (933) and Christian Laettner (299) are the top two. ... The Wolves play 11 of their next 15 games on the road. ... Boston scored 100 points or more in five of seven preseason games, but had cleared 100 just once in five regular season games entering Saturday. ... Boston backup point guard J.R. Bremer was in the Wolves minicamp this summer. ... Garnett's 28-point, 24-rebound performance on Thursday was the ninth 20-20 performance of his career, but the Wolves won only five of those games and won only one by more than four points.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

Points 105 99
FGM-FGA 36-90 (.400) 36-84 (.429)
3PM-3PA 14-31 (.452) 2-8 (.250)
FTM-FTA 19-23 (.826) 25-28 (.893)
Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 11-44 11-53
Assists 19 25
Turnovers 8 14
Steals 8 2
Blocks 10 6
Fast Break Points 1 8
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 23 (3/0) 18 (3/0)

Top Performers

Antoine Walker Walker
Points: 31
Reb: 8
Ast: 3
Stl: 2
Blk: 1
Rasho Nesterovic Nesterovic
Points: 22
Reb: 13
Ast: 3
Stl: 0
Blk: 2