Regular Season Series (Game 2 of 2)

Series starts 1/3

Game 1: Monday, January 3rd
Game 2: Saturday, March 19th

Celtics 113

(38-29, 13-19 away)

Hornets 100

(15-50, 11-22 home)

Coverage: COX

7:00 PM ET, March 19, 2005

Smoothie King Center, New Orleans, LA

1 2 3 4 T
BOS 26 37 31 19113
NO 33 24 17 26100

Top Performers

Bos: R. Davis 27 Pts, 4 Reb, 3 Ast, 2 Stl

NO: J. Smith 21 Pts, 3 Reb, 2 Ast, 2 Stl

Davis scores 27 off the bench

NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- So another Boston team is doing everything right as the playoffs approach.

Ricky Davis scored 27 points coming off the bench and Paul Pierce added 23, helping Boston cruise to a 113-100 victory over the New Orleans Hornets on Saturday night as the Celtics won their seventh straight game.

"We're rolling," Celtics forward Antoine Walker said. "This builds confidence. ... We've got a good balance of guys who've been there before. We're trying to just keep this train rolling -- just keep winning games however they come."

One night after their 19-point victory in Houston snapped the Rockets' six-game winning streak, the Celtics dominated New Orleans, scoring inside and out, on the break and at the foul line.

Shooting 52.1 percent from the floor, Boston was 10-of-19 from 3-point range, 27-of-31 at the line, and dressed up the performance with authoritative dunks from Davis and Tony Allen.

"They just come out shooting from all possible angles and it's hard defending," said Hornets reserve forward Bostjan Nachbar, who scored 19 points.

On the heels of championships by the Red Sox and Patriots, Boston now has the Celtics surging upward in the NBA standings. They have won 11 of 12 games, with the lone loss coming against Minnesota on a last-second shot. They also have won five straight on the road.

Hornets rookie J.R. Smith prevented an embarrassing rout with 21 points that included several off-balance floaters. Dan Dickau and Lee Nailon each scored 13 for New Orleans, while Jamaal Magloire and P.J. Brown each scored 12.

Walker had 18 points and nine rebounds for Boston, while Gary Payton scored 15 points and Allen 11.

Boston broke the game open in the third period, with Allen getting three steals and the Hornets turning the ball over six times in a span of seven possessions. Allen converted two of the turnovers into driving transition scores, one a windmill dunk. Allen's third steal led to the first of three straight baskets by Pierce, the last a 3-pointer capping a 13-0 run that gave the Celtics an 88-67 lead.

"Once we get them on their back, we've just got to put them away. And we did," Pierce said. "You've got a lot of veterans out there who understand the game and understand what it takes to win. We've just got to do a good job of showing the young guys, when they come in, what they have to do for us to be a top-notch team. That's taking care of business, keeping leads, holding on to them and not having any lapses."

Payton compounded the Hornets' problems by causing havoc with New Orleans' point guards. On one drive, he forced Dickau to commit his fourth foul. But Dickau had to return shortly after Speedy Claxton sprained his left ankle trying to defend Payton. Dickau, meanwhile, had five fouls before the end of the third period, again because of a Payton drive.

"The two things that turned the whole third quarter around was Tony's defense and Gary's post-up and making them try to adjust to that," Boston coach Doc Rivers said.

Walker later hit Boston's 10th 3-pointer as the Celtics took a 94-74 lead into the final quarter.

New Orleans, coming off only their fourth road victory a night earlier in the Chicago, shot better than 50 percent through the first half and built a lead as large as 38-30 after Nachbar's second 3-pointer.

The Celtics then surged ahead with a 16-4 run that included three 3-pointers -- two by Delonte West and one by Davis. Walker's fadeaway put Boston up 46-42.

Boston hit seven of its first 10 3-point attempts, with Davis going 4-of-4 en route to 18 first-half points. Payton's 3 late in the second quarter put Boston up 63-57 at halftime.

Game notes

Davis has scored 20 or more points in a reserve role 15 times. ... Boston shot 56.7 percent through the first three quarters. ... The Hornets' 33 points in the opening period marked their highest first-quarter production of the season. They shot 53.8 percent in the quarter, but finished the game at 47.6 percent. ... Hornets shooting guard Casey Jacobsen started the fourth quarter at point guard because of Dickau's foul trouble and Claxton's injury. ... The Hornets (15-50) are losers of 50 games in a season for the first time since 1991-92.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

Points 113 100
FGM-FGA 38-73 (.521) 39-82 (.476)
3PM-3PA 10-19 (.526) 6-15 (.400)
FTM-FTA 27-31 (.871) 16-20 (.800)
Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 6-35 10-37
Assists 22 22
Turnovers 14 16
Steals 7 5
Blocks 3 4
Fast Break Points 15 10
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 20 (1/0) 25 (0/0)
Largest Lead 23 8

Top Performers

New Orleans
Ricky Davis Davis
Points: 27
Reb: 4
Ast: 3
Stl: 2
Blk: 0
J.R. Smith Smith
Points: 21
Reb: 3
Ast: 2
Stl: 2
Blk: 0