Regular Season Series (Game 4 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

Hornets 65

(37-29, 14-19 away)

Celtics 93

(37-27, 22-11 home)

    Coverage: COX

    7:00 PM ET, March 12, 2003

    TD Garden, Boston, MA

    1 2 3 4 T
    NO 15 15 17 1865
    BOS 25 22 23 2393

    Top Performers

    NO: J. Magloire 8 Pts, 11 Reb, 4 Blk

    Bos: A. Walker 23 Pts, 5 Reb, 8 Ast, 2 Stl, 1 Blk

    Hornets tie fewest points in franchise history (65)

    BOSTON (AP) -- The Boston Celtics tightened the Eastern Conference playoff race with strong defense against the tired New Orleans Hornets.

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    Antoine Walker scored 23 points as the Celtics held the Hornets to a tie for the fewest points in franchise history, 93-65 Wednesday night.

    One night earlier, New Orleans won at Indiana for its fifth straight road victory.

    "Indiana is very physical," Walker said. "We knew the Hornets are not a great transition team so we wanted to get out and run."

    The win moved the fifth-place Celtics (37-27) a game ahead of the Hornets (37-29) in the East. The top six teams are separated by four games, with Detroit first at 39-23.

    Paul Pierce scored 21 points for the Celtics, who are 6-2 in their last eight games. New Orleans, 1-2 after winning nine straight, was led by Baron Davis with 16 points and Jamal Mashburn with 11.

    "Paul asked to guard Mash before the game," Boston coach Jim O'Brien said. "Anybody who wants to step up and take a challenge like that, it's important."

    The Hornets also scored 65 points on Dec. 20, 2000 when they were in Charlotte and beat Miami 65-56.

    "This was understandable," New Orleans coach Paul Silas said. "Our guys were tired and we need a break."

    After their third game in four nights, the Hornets have Thursday off before two games in two days at Miami and Orlando.

    "Even though we came off back-to-back games, you have to give a lot of credit to the Celtics defense," said David Wesley, who scored four points as his 31-game streak of scoring at least 10 ended. "We played into their hands by letting their defense get set."

    The Hornets made just 32 percent of their field goal attempts.

    The lopsided win -- helped by Boston's 10-for-22 shooting on 3-pointers -- allowed O'Brien to rest key players before Thursday night's game at New Jersey.

    "That's always a dilemma, as everybody knows, for me," he said. "I never feel like a lead is big enough."

    The game was close until late in the first half when Boston went on a 16-2 run to turn a 29-25 edge into a 45-27 lead. The Celtics' biggest lead was 30 points and they trailed only once, 2-0.

    Wednesday's 28-point final margin was the Hornets' most lopsided of the season. Their previous biggest losses were by 21 points, 108-87 at Philadelphia on Nov. 25 and 114-93 at Minnesota on Feb. 14.

    The Celtics' 16-2 surge started with Pierce's layup that made it 31-25 with 4:54 left in the half. That was the first of his eight points in the run.

    A dunk by Tony Battie and a layup by Pierce gave Boston a 35-25 lead. Then Pierce hit a free throw before Davis sank two for New Orleans, cutting the lead to 36-27.

    Boston closed the rally with three 3-pointers -- by Pierce, Walker and Walter McCarty, making it 45-27 with 1:50 to go.

    "We challenged every shot. Our offense was clicking," said J.R. Bremer who had 12 points on 4-of-7 shooting on 3-pointers.

    The Celtics took their biggest lead, 69-39, on a jumper by Mark Blount with 2:33 left in the third quarter. That capped an 8-0 run in which Pierce had the first six points.

    "Being down 30 points (late in) the third quarter is hard to accept," New Orleans' P.J. Brown said.

    The Hornets cut the lead to 70-47 at the end of the third, but Boston stretched it to 30 again on Walker's jumper with 6:42 left to that made it 85-55.

    Game notes
    Davis played in his second game after missing 20 following knee surgery. ... Former Celtics guard Kenny Anderson was on the opposing team in Boston's two biggest wins of the season. Now with New Orleans, he was with Seattle on Feb. 5 when the Celtics beat the SuperSonics 114-74 in Boston. ... Bimbo Coles scored 2 points in his second game with Boston after playing for Cleveland. ... Boston committed just six turnovers to 14 for New Orleans.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 65 93
    FGM-FGA 23-72 (.319) 36-84 (.429)
    3PM-3PA 2-16 (.125) 10-22 (.455)
    FTM-FTA 17-31 (.548) 11-16 (.688)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 13-44 9-42
    Assists 13 25
    Turnovers 17 8
    Steals 2 7
    Blocks 7 4
    Fast Break Points 3 2
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 20 (0/0) 23 (0/0)

    Top Performers

    New Orleans
    Jamaal Magloire Magloire
    Points: 8
    Reb: 11
    Ast: 0
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 4
    Antoine Walker Walker
    Points: 23
    Reb: 5
    Ast: 8
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 1