Celtics batter Cavs for second consecutive night

CLEVELAND (AP) -- Paul Pierce was so concerned about his missed
free throws, a triple-double wasn't even in his thoughts.

Pierce scored 34 points and had a length-of-the-court assist
late in the game to help the Boston Celtics hold off the Cleveland
Cavaliers 110-106 Saturday night.

''I didn't even think of it,'' Pierce said of needing one
rebound and one assist for a triple-double. ''I was focusing on
getting a win and knew I missed a lot of free throws. That's what
was going through my head.''

Pierce went 10-for-17 from the line, but hit six 3-pointers as
Boston shot 14-for-27 from beyond the arc and broke a tie with
Orlando for sixth place in the Eastern Conference.

Ricky Davis scored 38, but missed seven of his last eight shots
for Cleveland. The Cavaliers lost to the Celtics for the second
consecutive night and have lost 10 in a row overall against Boston.

The Cavs, who need two victories in their final nine games to avoid
the franchise's worst record of 15-67, had a three-game home
winning streak snapped.

Davis scored nine points as Cleveland opened the fourth quarter
with 23-6 run to take a 93-92 lead.

Pierce hit a 16-foot jumper to put Boston ahead for good, 99-98
with 2:30 to play.

Antoine Walker later stole an inbounds pass by Jumaine Jones and
fed Walter McCarty for an easy dunk. McCarty hit a 3-pointer for a
104-99 lead with 48.9 left.

''I made a key turnover,'' Jones said. ''The difference was
their key players made key plays down the stretch.''

The Cavs pulled to 104-102 with 28.5 left as rookie Carlos
Boozer, who had 20 points and a season-best 16 rebounds, scored on
a dunk and Milt Palacio hit a free throw.

Pierce then threw an inbounds pass the length of the court for
an uncontested dunk by Eric Williams. He later added two free
throws to secure the victory.

McCarty shot 6-for-8 from beyond the arc and finished with 20
points, Walker scored 18 and Cleveland native J.R Bremer had 13
points for Boston.

''We moved Walter to center and used pick-and-rolls where
(Zydrunas) Ilgauskas had to help,'' Pierce said. ''A big guy is not
used to getting out on a 3-point shooter.''

The Celtics had snapped a season-high six-game losing streak
with a 104-95 victory over the Cavs in Boston on Friday. That
streak was Boston's longest since a 10-game skid that led former
coach and team president Rick Pitino to resign in January 2001.

''Our goal was one, to get off the losing streak, and then focus
on getting two,'' Pierce said.

Boston used a 21-8 run to take a 53-47 lead at halftime.

Game notes
Six of Boston's remaining nine games are against teams
currently holding playoff spots. ... Celtics guard Bimbo Coles went
scoreless in 13 minutes, He said there had been no repercussions
since he said the Cavs were purposely trying to lose when he was
released by Cleveland last month. ''Let's just say I'm tight with
every Cleveland player, that's all,'' Coles said. ...Cavs rookie guard Dajuan Wagner, out for the season after knee surgery and son of
former NBA guard Milt Wagner, would not comment on the drug arrest
of his stepfather, Leonard Paulk, in Camden, N.J. ... Ilgauskas had
five blocks to pass Brad Daugherty (398) for fifth on the team's
career list with 402. ... Davis averaged 33 points and Pierce 27
in Boston's four victories over the Cavs.