Regular Season Series (Game 2 of 4)

Series starts 11/17

Game 1: Wednesday, November 17th
Game 2: Friday, December 31st
Game 3: Sunday, March 13th
Game 4: Tuesday, April 5th

Wizards 103

(15-13, 7-8 away)

Celtics 108

(13-16, 8-5 home)

    3:00 PM ET, December 31, 2004

    TD Garden, Boston, MA

    1 2 3 4 T
    WSH 25 27 25 26103
    BOS 21 33 26 28108

    Top Performers

    WSH: L. Hughes 33 Pts, 6 Reb, 6 Ast, 1 Stl

    Bos: P. Pierce 26 Pts, 5 Reb, 1 Ast, 3 Stl, 1 Blk

    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.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 103 108
    FGM-FGA 42-94 (.447) 37-79 (.468)
    3PM-3PA 10-18 (.556) 6-18 (.333)
    FTM-FTA 9-10 (.900) 28-34 (.824)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 14-44 11-44
    Assists 25 18
    Turnovers 13 13
    Steals 7 5
    Blocks 2 2
    Fast Break Points 9 14
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 21 (1/0) 16 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 5 6

    Top Performers

    Larry Hughes Hughes
    Points: 33
    Reb: 6
    Ast: 6
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 0
    Paul Pierce Pierce
    Points: 26
    Reb: 5
    Ast: 1
    Stl: 3
    Blk: 1