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Celtics rediscover touch, end six-game slide

BOSTON (AP) -- The Boston Celtics were happy to get any win -- even one they had to squeak out against the lowly Cleveland Cavaliers.

"I just got tired of coming in the locker room after not doing
the job,'' Celtics forward Eric Williams said Friday night after
Boston snapped a six-game losing streak with a 104-95 victory over
Cleveland.

Paul Pierce had 27 points and nine rebounds, and Williams scored
10 of his 17 points in the fourth quarter as Boston moved into a
tie with Orlando for sixth place in the Eastern Conference playoff
race.

The Celtics had been as high as fourth before enduring their longest losing streak since the slump that led coach Rick Pitino to resign in January 2001.

"The last 10 games of the season, we've got to treat them like
playoff games,'' Pierce said. "The teams that are mentally tough
are going to win it.''

Ricky Davis had 31 points, 10 assists and six rebounds for
Cleveland (14-58), which has the worst record in the NBA, just
behind Denver (16-56). Carlos Boozer added 10 rebounds for the
Cavs, who need two more victories to avoid posting the worst record
in franchise history.

Antoine Walker scored 13 points on just 4-of-12 shooting, but he
hit a 3-pointer with 44 seconds left after the Cavs had cut the
deficit to 96-92. Davis hit a 3-pointer at the other end before the
Celtics made 5-of-6 free throws to ice it.

"Walker made the big plays,'' Cleveland coach Keith Smart said. "He didn't make them early, but he made them when it counted. We just don't have the guy that can put us on his back and carry us.''

Boston was 32-for-47 from the line, while Cleveland shot just 16
foul shots and made 12.

The Celtics scored 10 consecutive points to take a 15-6 lead in
the first quarter. They led by 16 early in the second before
Cleveland scored the next 11 points and then cut it the deficit to
50-47 at the half.

Boston led 75-73 before the Cavaliers scored the first basket of
the fourth quarter to tie it.

Game notes
Celtics C Tony Battie missed his third consecutive game
with swelling in his knee. ... Boston G Tony Delk was available but
didn't play, having missed practice all week because of the sudden
death of his father. ... The teams play again in Cleveland on
Saturday. ... Cleveland has lost to the Celtics nine consecutive
times. ... The Cavaliers have 26 combined years of experience on
the roster. Celtics Grant Long and Mark Bryant have 28 between
them.

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