Friday , Dec , 31 , 2004 C.Y. Ellis

Surprising Wizards meet Celtics in Beantown

Boston, MA (Sports Network) – The struggling Boston Celtics will try to get
back on the winning track this afternoon, as they host the Washington Wizards
at FleetCenter.

The Celtics found themselves on the wrong end in their most recent game, a
117-109 decision to the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday at FedExForum.

Raef LaFrentz netted a game-high 28 points for the Celtics, who dropped their
third in a row. Boston is in danger of posting its second, four-game losing
streak of the season. The Celtics also dropped four straight from November
23-28.

Paul Pierce totaled 18 points and seven assists in the losing effort against
the Grizzlies.

Boston led by double-digits entering the fourth, but Memphis started the final
frame on an 18-3 run and they never looked back. Earl Watson capped off the
burst on a three-pointer with 6:39 left to give the Grizzlies a 101-97 edge.

The Celtics hurt themselves, though, by turning the ball over 18 times in the
loss.

Washington also lost on Wednesday night, but the Wizards’ loss came in
heartbreaking fashion, as Detroit’s Chauncey Billups scored the game-winning
basket with 0.7 seconds left to lead the Pistons to a 107-105 win at the MCI
Center.

Gilbert Arenas netted 34 points and Larry Hughes scored 30 along with seven
assists and six steals for the Wizards, who have dropped three of their last
five.

Washington led by as many as 19 in the first half before taking a 59-42 edge
into the intermission. The Wizards only turned the ball over four times in the
first half. The Pistons did not throw in the towel though, starting the third
frame on an 18-4 burst to get within three. Billups completed the run on a
three-pointer midway through the frame to cut the deficit to 63-60 for
Detroit.

The Pistons got no closer the rest of the third and trailed 79-74 after 36
minutes. Detroit went on a 13-4 run in the fourth to take their first lead of
the game since the first quarter at 98-96 on a three-pointer by Billups with
4:06 to play.

The game was then knotted at 105-105 with the Pistons in possession of the
ball. Billups let the clock tick down and drove towards the net, settling for
a jump shot for the win.

Arenas has scored in double-digits in 18 straight games. He is averaging 23.5
points and 4.8 assists in his last 10 contests.

BOS WAS