Wednesday , Mar , 09 , 2005 C.Y. Ellis

Boston Celtics Team Report – March 9

=== Boston Celtics Team Report – March 9 ===

(Sports Network) – For the first time since being sent back to Boston prior to
the trade deadline, Antoine Walker will face the squad that dealt him as he
leads the Celtics against the Atlanta Hawks at TD Banknorth Garden.

Walker was re-acquired by the Celtics from Atlanta for Gary Payton, Tom
Gugliotta, Michael Stewart and a future first round draft choice. The Hawks
weren’t attempting to improve their team in the short term, as Payton has been
bought out and re-signed with Boston. Gugliotta is lone piece of the deal that
has been somewhat valuable for the Hawks.

Since the deal, the Hawks are 0-6, while the Celtics are 4-1. Boston is 31-29
on the year, while Atlanta is an Eastern Conference-worst 10-49.

The teams have split a pair of meetings this season with the home team
winning both games. Atlanta has actually won four of the last six meetings in
this series. However, the Hawks have lost nine of their last 11 trips to
Boston.

Walker has been outstanding in five games for the Celtics, registering 21.4
points, 9.2 rebounds and 2.6 assists per contest. Meanwhile, Payton has
tallied 12.2 points and six assists for Boston this season.

Boston sits atop the Atlantic Division, 2 1/2 games ahead of second place
Philadelphia. The Celtics saw a four-game win streak come to an end on Sunday,
as they fell 99-97 to the Minnesota Timberwolves at the Garden.

Ricky Davis scored a game-high 22 points for the Celtics, but he missed on a
chance to tie the game at the buzzer. Walker chipped in 16 points in the loss
and Paul Pierce added 12 points and nine assists. Payton tacked on 17 points
and six assists in the win.

Raef LaFrentz tallied 12 points and Mark Blount posted 10 points in the losing
effort. Boston took the loss despite shooting 54.4 percent, including 4-of-9
(.444) from three-point range. The Celtics drained 7-of-9 (.778) from the free
throw line.

Boston, which is in the midst of a six-game homestand, has won seven of nine
and 11 of its last 15 home games. The Celtics are 21-10 in their friendly
confines this season.

Following tonight’s tilt, the Celtics will have a day off before hosting
Detroit on Friday. Boston will then finish up its week against Washington at
home on Sunday.

BOS