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Palacio's layup blocked by Davis at the buzzer

BOSTON (AP) -- The Boston Celtics taunted Jalen Rose early, and
Ricky Davis got on Milt Palacio when it was over.

Paul Pierce and Antoine Walker each scored 24 points, and the
Celtics nearly blew a 16-point fourth-quarter lead before pulling
out a 110-109 win over the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday night.

The victory was the fifth straight for the Atlantic
Division-leading Celtics and their ninth in 10 games since
acquiring Walker from Atlanta on Feb. 24.

A few players on Boston's bench were teasing Rose after Pierce
nailed a jumper and was fouled on Boston's first possession of the
game, saying "He's going to foul you out."

After Pierce missed a jumper in the closing seconds, the Raptors
came down for the final shot without calling timeout. Palacio's
drive bounced off the backboard, and the buzzer sounded.

"I felt like we had a better chance of getting to the basket or
maybe getting a foul," Raptors coach Sam Mitchell said of not
calling timeout in the final six seconds.

Davis appeared to be yelling into Palacio's ear as the Raptors
guard walked to midcourt.

"We were talking trash the whole fourth quarter," Palacio
said. "I kept telling him he wasn't going to score on me, and he
kept telling me I wasn't going to score on him. He thought he
played me. I thought I got fouled.

The way the Celtics are going lately, they can even survive a
poor fourth quarter and gain a win.

"We don't play defense," Boston coach Doc Rivers said of his
team's fourth-quarter fade. "That was horrible. We've come a long
way when we win a game and the guys have their heads down. They
were upset, frustrated.

Tony Allen finished with 16 points for Boston, including a pair
of big baskets in the final 1:46. Davis had 14.

"Were not really happy with the way we played in the fourth
quarter," Pierce said. "We know we could improve, especially on
the defensive end."

Rose led the Raptors with a season-high 35 points and Chris Bosh
had 20 before leaving with a bruised lower back early in the final
quarter.

Rose scored seven straight points, giving the Raptors a 107-106
lead on a driving shot over Pierce with 2:03 to play. Allen broke
free inside for a jam, but Toronto regained the lead on Rafer
Alston's jumper with 1:30 to play.

Allen's drive made it 110-109 14 seconds later.

Boston had a 20-8 run to start the second half, hitting seven of
its first nine shots, and led 90-74 after three. Walker had 12
points in the quarter on 5-for-5 shooting.

Bosh and Marcus Banks appeared to get their legs tangled in
front of the Boston bench, causing a nasty spill for the pair.

Game notes
Donyell Marshall, who finished with 16 points, hit four
3-pointers after an NBA record-tying 12 Sunday against
Philadelphia. The Raptors, who made a league record 21 3-pointers
Sunday, had eight.