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

Pierce helps Boston end slide, beat Wizards

Boston, MA (Sports Network) – Paul Pierce scored 26 points and hit the go-
ahead free throw in the final minute, as the Boston Celtics defeated the
Washington Wizards, 108-103, at FleetCenter.

Gary Payton collected 18 points and six rebounds for Boston, which snapped a
three-game losing streak. Ricky Davis netted 15 points and Raef LaFrentz
chipped in 12 points and six boards for the Celtics.

Larry Hughes poured in 33 points, pulled down six rebounds and handed out six
assists for Washington, which has dropped four of its last five contests.
Antawn Jamison finished with 29 points and seven boards in the loss.

Gilbert Arenas (flu) and Kwame Brown (ankle) both missed the game for the
Wizards.

Anthony Peeler’s three-pointer midway through the fourth quarter staked
Washington to a 92-87 advantage.

The Celtics responded with a 12-3 spurt, capped by Pierce’s three-point shot,
to regain the lead by four with three minutes left.

The Wizards then battled back and took a 100-99 lead on Jamison’s three-
pointer with two minutes remaining.

After Boston received baskets from Mark Blount and Payton to take a 103-100
advantage, Hughes drained a three-pointer to tie it with 57.8 seconds left.

Pierce was then fouled and made 1-of-2 free throws with 34.5 seconds remaining
to make it 104-103 in favor of the Celtics.

On the next possession for the Washington, Hughes missed a jumper and the ball
later went out of bounds off the Wizards’ Jarvis Hayes. Jiri Welsch was then
fouled with 11.5 seconds left and proceeded to make both attempts from the
stripe to put Boston ahead by three.

The Wizards had a chance to tie, but Jamison missed an open three-point shot
from the corner. The Celtics got the rebound and Davis was fouled. He sank
both free throws with 3.3 seconds remaining to seal it.

The Wizards closed the first quarter with a 10-6 run, sparked by Hughes’
three-pointer, to take a 25-21 advantage.

Boston then began the second quarter with an 11-4 spurt, capped by Tony
Allen’s three-pointer, to move in front 32-29. The Celtics extended their lead
to six points on several occasions in the period, the last time at 54-48 on
two free throws by Payton with 36.9 seconds left.

Washington then received consecutive layups from Hughes and trailed by two
heading to the locker room. Pierce and Davis each had 11 points in the first
half, while Hughes led the Wizards in the opening 24 minutes with 15.

In the third quarter, Boston was able to restore a five-point advantage, as
Payton’s layup with 4:48 remaining in the period gave the Celtics a 70-65
advantage.

Washington then answered with an 8-3 run, culminated by Hughes’ three-pointer,
to even the contest at 73-73. The Celtics eventually held an 80-77 lead after
36 minutes.

BOS WAS