Final

Regular Season Series (Game 3 of 4)

Series starts 11/1

Game 1: Saturday, November 1st
Celtics90Final
Hornets97
Game 2: Wednesday, November 19th
Hornets81Final
Celtics73
Game 3: Wednesday, December 31st
Hornets96Final
Celtics94
Game 4: Friday, April 9th
Celtics80Final
Hornets89

Hornets 96

(20-12, 10-8 away)

Celtics 94

(16-17, 8-9 home)

Coverage: COX

2:00 PM ET, December 31, 2003

TD Garden, Boston, MA

1 2 3 4 T
NO 18 22 29 2796
BOS 23 13 34 2494

Top Performers

NO: B. Davis 29 Pts, 5 Reb, 10 Ast, 2 Stl

Bos: M. Blount 14 Pts, 8 Reb, 2 Ast, 1 Stl, 2 Blk

Davis, Brown help end road breakdown

BOSTON (AP) -- The New Orleans Hornets relied on Baron Davis and one of their best defensive performances of the season to snap a four-game road losing streak.

Davis had 29 points and 10 assists to lead New Orleans past the Boston Celtics 96-94 Wednesday.

P.J. Brown added 15 points and 14 rebounds as New Orleans improved to 3-0 against Boston this season.

The Celtics' Paul Pierce scored 14 points on 4-of-16 shooting. He was 1-for-10 in the first half and attempted just six shots in the second. Ricky Davis scored eight points on 3-for-12 shooting.

"(David) Wesley did a great job on Ricky Davis and the combination of George (Lynch) and Stacey (Augmon) stopping Pierce was terrific," Hornets coach Tim Floyd said. "After losing four in a row on the road, we needed this victory."

The Celtics chose to spin the loss another way.

"Even the great ones struggle and have tough nights," Celtics guard Mike James said. "Other guys have to be ready to pick up the slack."

Ricky Davis' 3-pointer with 2.8 seconds left cut Boston's deficit to two points, and the Celtics forced the Hornets to throw away the ensuing inbounds pass. But George Lynch stole Jiri Welsch's entry pass to seal the win.

Boston trailed 91-84 before Pierce hit a 3-pointer and Welsch added a pair of free throws to bring the Celtics within 91-89.

The lead changed hands 10 times in the second half, but David Wesley hit a 3-pointer with 4{ minutes left to put New Orleans ahead 86-81. Baron Davis pushed that lead to 90-82 with a 20-foot jump shot off the glass with just over two minutes left.

"This game was full of runs and we were fortunate enough to make the last run," Baron Davis said. "We have our defensive swagger back and it was nice to get a road win after I felt we gave one away in Detroit."

Boston erased a four-point halftime deficit to take a 70-69 lead at the end of the third period. Walter McCarty led the Celtics by scoring nine straight points, including a pair of 3-pointers.

The Celtics didn't attempt a free throw until 58.6 seconds were left in the second quarter.

"It's always tough coming to Boston," Brown said. "We thought if we could prevent Pierce from getting into his flow and play Hornet basketball, we could probably get a victory."

Welsch led Boston with 17 points, and James added 15.

"We hung around today," Celtics center Chris Mihm said. "We had our chances and that's what's discouraging." ^Notes:@ Boston was the second of four Eastern Conference opponents with records of .500 or better that the Hornets will face on their current four-game road swing. ... Mark Blount followed up a 6-for-6 shooting night against Phoenix Monday by hitting his first five attempts from the field. ... Jamaal Magloire and Blount received matching technical fouls in the third quarter for rough play underneath the basket.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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