Regular Season Series (Game 2 of 2)

Series starts 2/5

Game 1: Wednesday, February 5th
Game 2: Tuesday, February 11th

Celtics 82

(28-22, 11-13 away)

SuperSonics 76


    7:00 PM ET, February 11, 2003

    Key Arena, Seattle, WA

    1 2 3 4 T
    BOS 29 26 7 2082
    SEA 20 13 15 2876

    Top Performers

    Bos: A. Walker 17 Pts, 12 Reb, 5 Ast

    Sea: G. Payton 23 Pts, 7 Reb, 11 Ast, 2 Stl

    Pierce injures groin as Celtics hang on to win

    SEATTLE (AP) -- Boston power forward Vin Baker shrugged off the boos in his return to Seattle. He'd heard them all before, and walked off a winner.

    Vin Baker

    "I got quite a few boos, but I think I heard worse when I was here,'' Baker said after the Celtics beat the Sonics 82-76 on Tuesday night. "I'm just excited that our team came out and played the way we did and got the victory.''

    Antoine Walker had 17 points and 12 rebounds for the Celtics, who let a big lead slip away before prevailing.

    Baker had nine points and three rebounds in 16 minutes off the bench.

    "Fans are going to be fans,'' said Baker, a four-time All-Star whose lack of productivity in Seattle led to his trade to the Celtics last July. "I don't hold any grudges against the fans of Seattle or the organization. I had some very good years here, but things didn't work out.''

    After trailing by 23 points early in the third quarter, the Sonics closed to 71-70 on Rashard Lewis' three-point play with 3:13 left. But Boston scored 11 of the game's final 17 points to hand Seattle its fourth straight defeat.

    The Sonics' Gary Payton, coming off his ninth All-Star game, got his team back in the game in the fourth quarter with 12 of his 23 points.

    The Celtics beat the Sonics by 40 points in Boston last Wednesday night, and a similar result looked possible as Boston held a 55-33 lead at halftime.

    The Celtics lost Paul Pierce, their leading scorer, to a mild right groin strain with 4:35 left in the first half. He was not on the bench in the second half, although the injury was not considered serious.

    Boston was leading 46-26 at the time of the injury. Pierce had 14 points in 16 minutes.

    Boston coach Jim O'Brien missed Pierce down the stretch.

    "I'd say we dramatically missed him,'' O'Brien said. "He's an All-Star. But it worked out for us.''

    O'Brien was happy for Baker, who missed the first Sonics-Celtics game six days ago because of heart palpitations that hospitalized him for two nights.

    "I thought he played great,'' O'Brien said. "He was very focused. I thought it was one of his better games.''

    After the Sonics pulled within a point, the Celtics got a pair of free throws from McCarty and a short jump hook by Walker before Vitaly Potapenko made a layup for Seattle with 2:01 left to make the score 75-72.

    But Walker had another short jump hook with 1:44 on the clock.

    Walker, Boston's other All-Star, said he expected the Sonics to come after the Celtics in the second half.

    "It's tough to hold the home team off for four quarters,'' he said. "We had a 20-point lead, but they made a great run. But I think we're a mentally tough team.''

    The Celtics scored only three baskets in the third quarter, getting outscored 15-7 as the Sonics closed to 62-48 on a layup by Predrag Drobnjak as time expired. They were ahead 58-31 early in the period.

    The Celtics led 55-33 at halftime after the Sonics shot 3-for-16 in the second quarter.

    After the teams were tied at 12 with 7:07 to go in the first quarter, Boston outscored the Sonics 17-6 in the rest of the period to take a 29-20 lead.

    Baker entered the game with 3:50 left in the first quarter and the Celtics ahead 21-14.

    The Celtics took a 43-23 lead in the first half of the second quarter, with Baker contributing a three-point play in the first minute. The Celtics' bench jumped up and cheered their teammate.

    Rookie power forward Reggie Evans came within one of his career high with 16 rebounds as the Sonics outrebounded Boston 50-40.

    Sonics coach Nate McMillan said he didn't like what he saw in the first half.

    "There was absolutely no defense in the first half again,'' he said. "Their All-Stars (Pierce and Walker) took advantage of the single coverage and scored and some perimeter guys made some shots.''

    Game notes

    The Celtics said Pierce's injury would be evaluated Wednesday and he was considered day-to-day. ... Sonics coach Nate McMillan said he hopes to have F Vladimir Radmanovic (sprained left ankle) back for Friday night's game at Sacramento. Radmanovic has been on the injured list since Jan. 28. ... Celtics C Tony Battie missed the game for personal reasons. He will rejoin the Celtics Thursday night in Portland.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 82 76
    FGM-FGA 29-74 (.392) 29-81 (.358)
    3PM-3PA 7-27 (.259) 0-12 (.000)
    FTM-FTA 17-18 (.944) 18-27 (.667)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 7-40 17-50
    Assists 16 21
    Turnovers 13 16
    Steals 9 7
    Blocks 4 5
    Fast Break Points 2 7
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 23 (0/0) 18 (0/0)

    Top Performers

    Antoine Walker Walker
    Points: 17
    Reb: 12
    Ast: 5
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 0
    Gary Payton Payton
    Points: 23
    Reb: 7
    Ast: 11
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 0