Regular Season Series (Game 3 of 4)

Series starts 12/1

Game 1: Sunday, December 1st
Game 2: Wednesday, January 8th
Game 3: Monday, February 3rd
Game 4: Wednesday, March 12th

Celtics 96

(26-22, 10-13 away)

Hornets 103

(25-24, 17-8 home)

    Coverage: COX

    7:30 PM ET, February 3, 2003

    Smoothie King Center, New Orleans, LA

    1 2 3 4 T
    BOS 21 25 22 2896
    NO 28 28 18 29103

    Top Performers

    Bos: P. Pierce 27 Pts, 4 Reb, 5 Ast, 1 Stl

    NO: J. Mashburn 30 Pts, 6 Reb, 8 Ast, 2 Stl

    Mashburn's all-around effort has Boston in four-game skid

    NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Jamal Mashburn reached 30 points for the second straight game, and this time the New Orleans Hornets didn't let it go to waste.

    Jamal Mashburn

    Mashburn's outburst included a pair of tough jumpers down the stretch as New Orleans beat Boston 103-96 Monday night to extend the Celtics' losing streak to a season-high four games.

    "I had to just be aggressive and let the guys follow me. I can't wait on anybody,'' said Mashburn, who was averaging about 21 points coming in and will play in his first All-Star game this weekend. "It's important for me to be the leader out there.''

    In the last two minutes, Mashburn hit a long fade and a turnaround jumper from the top of the key to give New Orleans a 97-88 lead.

    Mashburn, who scored 39 points in a tough loss Saturday at Washington, shot 12-of-19 against Boston, including four 3-pointers.

    David Wesley scored 18 points for New Orleans, which snapped a two-game losing streak and beat Boston for the first time in three meetings this season.

    P.J. Brown added 12 points on 5-of-5 shooting and had 12 rebounds, while George Lynch, in a rare start, scored 11.

    New Orleans (25-24) avoided falling below .500 for the first time this season. The Hornets play Sacramento before heading into the All-Star break.

    "This was a must win -- a clutch win,'' Brown said. "We didn't want to fall below .500 with a tough team coming in on Wednesday. That would be more pressure. This was probably the biggest game of the year up to this point.''

    Paul Pierce led Boston with 27 points and was 9-of-11 from the foul line, while Antoine Walker and rookie J.R. Bremer each added 20. Eric Williams scored 13 and Tony Battie grabbed 13 rebounds for the Celtics.

    With Pierce coming on strong in the second half, the Celtics made several runs but could never gain the lead. With a tip-in, an end-to-end drive and a 3-pointer, Pierce scored the last seven points of a 12-2 run that pulled Boston to 69-68 with three minutes left in the third period.

    New Orleans came back with five straight points, all by Stacey Augmon on a pair of driving layups and a free throw, to take a 74-68 lead into the fourth quarter.

    Momentum shifted several times in the final period. Pierce hit a 3 to spark a 7-0 run that Bremer finished with a driving layup, pulling Boston to 80-77.

    New Orleans responded with a 7-0 run that included an off-balance, backward bank shot by Robert Traylor and Mashburn's fourth 3-pointer.

    A 3-pointer by Walker got Boston to 99-95 with 27.5 seconds left, but the Celtics were forced to foul and the Hornets made their free throws while Boston missed several desperation shots.

    Pierce and Boston coach Jim O'Brien said a weak first half doomed the Celtics.

    "We can't wait until we get down and we're trying to crawl back and then everybody all of a sudden wakes up,'' Pierce said. "We try to play hard and scrap when we're down, but we don't have that sense of urgency at the start of a ballgame and it's becoming a problem.''

    After shooting 9-for-13 to start the game, the Celtics missed 12 shots in a row. New Orleans put together an 18-1 run during Boston's dry spell, with Mashburn hitting three 3-pointers.

    Elden Campbell completed the run with a jump shot from the top of the key, giving New Orleans a 33-21 lead early in the second quarter.

    New Orleans took its largest lead of the half, 43-27, after scoring six straight points, including an inside basket and a pair of free throws by Jerome Moiso.

    Boston trailed 56-46 at halftime.

    Game notes

    Lynch's start was his second of the season. Hornets coach Paul Silas said he was looking for Lynch to provide a favorable defensive matchup against Pierce, who led the Celtics to victory in the last meeting by driving to the hoop and scoring often from the foul line. Wesley, who normally plays shooting guard, was shifted to point guard. The only other time Lynch started this season was when he was a last-second insert because Mashburn's contact lens popped out just before tipoff. ... Boston made only one of its first 11 3-pointers, and finished 8-of-24 from long range. ... Pierce, who leads the league in free throws made and attempted, did not go to the line until being fouled in the last minute of the first half. ... Campbell tied a season high of eight rebounds in only his first 10 minutes of play in the first half, but did not have another the rest of the way.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 96 103
    FGM-FGA 35-83 (.422) 37-75 (.493)
    3PM-3PA 8-24 (.333) 5-10 (.500)
    FTM-FTA 18-24 (.750) 24-31 (.774)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 14-38 13-45
    Assists 17 26
    Turnovers 20 18
    Steals 7 12
    Blocks 2 9
    Fast Break Points 3 4
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 23 (1/0) 26 (3/0)

    Top Performers

    New Orleans
    Paul Pierce Pierce
    Points: 27
    Reb: 4
    Ast: 5
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 0
    Jamal Mashburn Mashburn
    Points: 30
    Reb: 6
    Ast: 8
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 0