Friday , Jan , 21 , 2005 C.Y. Ellis

Boston Celtics Team Report – January 21

=== Boston Celtics Team Report – January 21 ===

(Sports Network) – The Boston Celtics will attempt to grab sole possession of
first place in the Atlantic Division this evening, when they open up a three-
game road swing against the New Jersey Nets at Continental Airlines Arena.

Boston has won two straight and three of its last four to move into a tie with
Philadelphia atop the weak Atlantic. However, the 76ers are idle this evening,
opening the door for the Celtics to grab the spot alone.

The Celtics continued their recent success on Wednesday night, posting a 92-83
victory over the previously hot Chicago Bulls at FleetCenter. Al Jefferson had
a career-high 17 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to help the Celtics to the big

Paul Pierce poured in 28 points and snagged 11 rebounds, while Raef LaFrentz
chipped in 13 points for the Celtics. Ricky Davis tacked on 11 points and Gary
Payton added 10 in the winning effort.

Boston hit 41 percent from the field, including just 3-of-14 (.214) from
three-point range. The Celtics did a nice job defensively, limiting the Bulls
to just 35 percent shooting. Boston also forced 16 Chicago turnovers in the

The Celtics, who have lost seven straight and 10 of its last 13 road games,
are just 5-14 in foreign buildings this year.

Boston and New Jersey split four meetings last season. Boston has won two
straight after losing the last five meetings. The Celtics have won 16 of the
last 26 meetings against the Nets overall.

Boston is sixth in league in scoring (100.7 ppg), while ranking 28th in points
allowed (99.8 ppg). The Celtics have been sharp from the field, hitting 46.1
percent (4th-NBA) of their shots.

The Celtics begins their road swing with games on back-to-back nights, as they
head to Atlanta to battle the Hawks on Saturday. Boston will have a two-day
break before finishing up its road trip in Charlotte on Tuesday.