Wednesday , Mar , 30 , 2005 C.Y. Ellis

Boston Celtics Team Report – March 30

=== Boston Celtics Team Report – March 30 ===

(Sports Network) – The Atlantic Division-leading Boston Celtics will try to
halt a three-game losing streak this evening, when they host the surging
Dallas Mavericks at FleetCenter.

Boston’s current skid comes on the heels of a seven-contest win streak and 11
victories in its previous 12 games. The Celtics’ recent woes continued on
Saturday, as they fell 105-99 in overtime to the Detroit Pistons at the Palace
of Auburn Hills.

Paul Pierce led the Celtics with 32 points and scored all 11 of the team’s
points in overtime. Antoine Walker and Ricky Davis posted 15 points apiece in
the loss, while Raef LaFrentz notched 10 points and 14 boards. Mark Blount
tacked on 10 points in the contest.

Gary Payton tallied eight points and six rebounds in 38 minutes of action
despite struggling with a sore back. Payton had an MRI on his back Monday,
which showed no acute change in the status of the injury. The outspoken point
guard is expected to play this evening.

Boston shot 46 percent from the field, including 5-of-19 (.263) from three-
point range. The Celtics hit 12-of-16 (.750) from the free throw line and
committed 13 turnovers in the defeat.

Boston’s advantage in the Atlantic has dwindled to three contests over the
Philadelphia 76ers. The Celtics are also 5 1/2 games in front of third place
New Jersey.

The Celtics, who have three of their next five contests at home, are 25-11 in
their friendly confines this season. Boston has won four of five and seven of
its last nine home tilts.

Dallas tallied a 113-94 thumping of the Celtics at the FleetCenter on Dec. 28.
The Mavs have won two straight and eight of the last nine meetings in this
series. In fact, the Mavs have won five of their last eight trips to Boston.

Following tonight’s contest, the Celtics have a day off before taking on the
Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena Friday night. Boston will finish its week with
a showdown against the Sixers at the FleetCenter on Sunday.