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Pierce forgets the misses and hits the big one

MILWAUKEE (AP) --Despite struggling earlier in the game, Paul
Pierce never hesitated when given the opportunity to take a big
shot.

Antoine Walker scored 25 points and Pierce made a key jumper
with 35.9 seconds left as Boston defeated the Milwaukee Bucks 97-95
Saturday night for their third straight victory.

Tim Thomas made one of two free throws with 53.8 seconds left,
bringing the Bucks within two at 94-92.

Despite making just one of his previous 10 shots and shooting
6-of-22 overall, Pierce responded with a 12-foot jumper that made
it 96-92.

"It felt good, even though I missed 10 or 15 shots in a row,''
Pierce said. "If the shot is there I'm going to take it anytime.''

Kedrick Brown posted his first career double-double by finishing
with 14 points and 10 rebounds, both career highs, in his first
start for Boston.

"Everyone stepped up and played their part, and that is what we
need to grow as a team,'' Walker said.

The Celtics had lost eight of 10 before their modest winning
streak.

"That was outstanding,'' Boston coach Jim O'Brien said. "We
are doing a good job of finding one another and passing the ball.
We have played five solid games in a row and we will try to
continue on a little bit of momentum that we have.''

Tim Thomas scored 22 points and Sam Cassell had 20 for
Milwaukee, which had won a season-high five straight and six of
seven. The Bucks also had beaten the Celtics at home seven straight
times.

"We've been doing a good job,'' Milwaukee coach George Karl
said. "Now we have to go on another run and we have a favorable
schedule to do that.''

The Bucks trailed by 16 points with 11:32 to play before going
on an 11-0 run, but the rally fell short when they missed two
crucial free throws late in the game.

"It was a lot of things,'' Thomas said. "We still had a chance
to win, we just didn't get it done. That's the bottom line.''

After neither team scored for 2:24, Cassell made one of two from
the line to cut Boston's lead to 94-91 with 1:47 remaining.

After Pierce's shot, J.R. Bremer's free throw boosted the lead
to five before Toni Kukoc made a 3-pointer with 3.2 seconds left.

Game notes
Three consecutive dunks by Boston in the last minute of the
first half gave the Celtics a 58-48 halftime lead. "We played like
a high school team for about three minutes,'' Karl said. ... Ray
Allen made three straight 3-pointers in the first 1:45 of the game.
After hitting his first four shots of the game, he missed his final
10 to finish 4-of-14 from the field for 13 points. ... After
playing 15 minutes Friday, Boston's Tony Delk sat out for the third
time in four games (sprained left ankle). ... Walker also had eight
rebounds and six assists.