Free throws push Celtics past Wizards

BOSTON (AP) -- The Boston Celtics finally found a way back into
the win column.

Paul Pierce scored seven of his 26 points in the final six
minutes, including the go-ahead free throw with 34 seconds left,
and the Celtics used a 21-11 fourth-quarter rally to beat the
Washington Wizards 108-103 on Friday.

Boston snapped a three-game losing streak and won for just the
second time in six games.

"The thing I liked about the fourth quarter for us is we kept
the ball moving," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. "I thought that
helped us defensively."

Gary Payton added 18 points, including four during the pivotal
spurt in the fourth. The two teams traded the lead eight times in
the final quarter.

"It was a tough loss for us. I thought our guys fought very
hard, but things just didn't go our way down the stretch,"
Washington coach Eddie Jordan said.

The Celtics snapped a 103-all tie when Pierce made one of two
free throws with 34 seconds remaining. Jiri Welsch increased the
lead to three points on two free throws with 11.5 seconds left.

"Doc (Rivers) and I have talked about getting me more involved
in the offense in the fourth quarter," Pierce said. "But my
teammates have to get involved too and we got that tonight."

Washington's Antawn Jamison had a chance to tie the game with
6.7 seconds remaining, but his 3-point shot from the right corner
hit the rim.

"I didn't think I'd be as wide open as I was," Jamison said.
"I rushed my shot a little bit, but it's a shot I have to make."

Ricky Davis, who scored 15 points as Boston's sixth man, made
two free throws with 3.3 seconds left to seal the victory.

Larry Hughes tied a season high with 33 points, including 6-of-6
from 3-point range, to lead Washington. Jamison added 29. The
Wizards were without leading scorer Gilbert Arenas, who missed the
game with flulike symptoms.

"Larry is playing tremendous basketball, not only is he scoring
himself, but he's helping his teammates. He has been instrumental
in the Wizards' good fortunes," Jordan said.

Raef LaFrentz scored 12 points for the Celtics while Welsch and
Tony Allen each had 10.

The game featured 13 ties and 26 lead changes.

Game notes
Boston's reserves outscored Washington's 36-17. ... The
Wizards beat the Celtics 110-105 in overtime when the teams met in
November. ... Washington had won its last two games against Boston.
... Steve Blake and Hughes led both teams with six assists apiece.


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