Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 5)

Series starts 12/2

Game 1: Monday, December 2nd
Game 2: Monday, December 9th
Game 3: Saturday, December 28th
Game 4: Sunday, January 26th
Game 5: Saturday, April 12th

Celtics 102

(12-5, 5-2 away)

Magic 97

(10-8, 6-3 home)

    7:00 PM ET, December 2, 2002

    Amway Arena, Orlando, FL

    1 2 3 4 T
    BOS 25 20 36 21102
    ORL 23 25 27 2297

    Top Performers

    Bos: P. Pierce 27 Pts, 10 Reb, 8 Ast

    Orl: G. Hill 22 Pts, 13 Reb, 5 Ast

    Hill has double double, McGrady hurts ankle in loss

    ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- The Boston Celtics got their shots to start falling in the third quarter and their defense on track in the fourth.

    Paul Pierce

    Paul Pierce scored 18 of his 27 points after halftime and Eric Williams added a season-high 21 as Boston won for the sixth time in seven games, beating the Orlando Magic 102-97 Monday night.

    ''It's a huge win,'' said Pierce, who also had 10 rebounds and eight assists. ''Coming in here against a quality team -- the Magic have been playing really well lately -- to get a win on (the second game of) a back-to-back, this is one of our biggest wins of the season.

    The Celtics took a 94-93 lead on Williams' dunk with 4:01 remaining, and Antoine Walker followed with a layin off a break. Walker had 19 points and eight rebounds.

    After Orlando's Tracy McGrady hit a jumper to cut the deficit to one point with 2:41 to go, the Magic missed four shots and committed two turnovers in their final seven possessions. Pierce clinched the win with four free throws in the final 1:07, shooting 10-for-12 from the line.

    ''Regardless of how the first three quarters have gone, we've been a great defensive team in the fourth quarter,'' Pierce said. ''We have confidence we can get stops in the fourth quarter when we need them, regardless of how our offense is rolling.''

    McGrady, his first step diminished after turning an ankle early, used his outside game to score 25 points. Grant Hill had 22 points and a season-high 13 rebounds, while Mike Miller had 18 points.

    Aside from those three players, the Magic shot 27 percent (10-for-37).

    ''I thought this was a very winnable game for us, even after Tracy's ankle,'' Orlando coach Doc Rivers said. ''Some of our shooters didn't make shots.''

    McGrady, picked earlier Monday as the Eastern Conference's Player of the Month, appeared to turn his left ankle on a drive to the hoop late in the first quarter. He hobbled around the court in obvious pain before collapsing on his back.

    He returned to the game after a brief trip to the locker room, but he ran gingerly for the rest of the game, even passing up a dunk on a second-quarter breakaway and barely jumping for a layin.

    ''I'll be fine,'' McGrady said. ''I've twisted my ankle so many times, I'll be all right.''

    McGrady shot 9-for-21, including 4-of-8 on 3-pointers. But without his ability to drive, he was a shadow of the player who is leading the league in scoring.

    ''Every time I penetrated, I was scared that I was going to step on someone's foot,'' McGrady said. ''So, I was really thinking about my ankle the whole time I was out there, It kind of took me out of my game as far as penetrating, creating for the guys.''

    Boston's usual barrage of 3-pointers was cut short in the first half by Orlando's perimeter defense, which held the Celtics to 1-for-9 shooting beyond the arc.

    But Boston found its shooting touch from the outside after the break, making four of its first six 3-pointers en route to an 81-75 lead entering the final quarter.

    In the second half, the Celtics shot 50 percent from the field.

    Game notes

    Boston has lost 17 of 27 games in Orlando ... Boston forward Walter McCarty made his first start in two seasons, replacing Williams in the lineup. Celtics coach Jim O'Brien said McCarty's size was a better fit for matching up with the Magic. McCarty had eight points in 34 minutes ... Garrity has hit at least one 3-pointer in 45 consecutive games, the longest active streak in the NBA. ... Walker was hit with a technical midway through the fourth quarter for complaining on a foul call. His eight technical fouls lead the NBA.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 102 97
    FGM-FGA 36-79 (.456) 33-88 (.375)
    3PM-3PA 7-22 (.318) 7-20 (.350)
    FTM-FTA 23-34 (.676) 24-28 (.857)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 10-43 16-47
    Assists 17 15
    Turnovers 10 12
    Steals 8 6
    Blocks 4 1
    Fast Break Points 5 3
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 20 (1/0) 23 (1/0)

    Top Performers

    Paul Pierce Pierce
    Points: 27
    Reb: 10
    Ast: 8
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 0
    Grant Hill Hill
    Points: 22
    Reb: 13
    Ast: 5
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 0