Wednesday , Mar , 22 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Pierce powers Celtics past Raptors

Boston, MA (Sports Network) – Paul Pierce scored 32 points and pulled down
eight rebounds as Boston defeated Toronto, 110-96, at TD Banknorth Garden.

Delonte West scored 21 points, grabbed six boards and dished out five assists
for the Celtics, who remain four games behind the Sixers for the eighth and
final playoff spot in the East. The Sixers defeated Atlanta earlier in the
night.

“We just have to win,” said Boston head coach Doc Rivers. “Bottom line, every
game is a must-win for us, when you look at the percentages, being down four
games with 13 to play.”

Wally Szczerbiak tallied 19 points, while Tony Allen contributed 11 off the
bench.

Mike James led the Raptors with 31 points. Chris Bosh scored 24 points, pulled
down 11 boards and dished out a career-high eight assists. Morris Peterson
and Matt Bonner each added 10 points for Toronto, which saw its modest two-
game winning streak come to an end.

Holding on to a six point lead, 93-87, with less than six minutes remaining in
the game, Boston pulled away from Toronto with a 13-4 run over a four minute
span that gave them a 15 point lead, 106-91, with 1:27 remaining in the
contest. West and Pierce drained a treys to ignite the spurt for the Celtics,
and the Raptors had no answer.

“We hung around but couldn’t get the stops we needed,” said Toronto head coach
Sam Mitchell. “They made some shots but we didn’t make some shots and we
missed a lot of easy shots.

After outscoring Toronto 30-27 in the first quarter, Boston went on a brief
8-0 run right before halftime, and held a nine point advantage at the break,
61-52.

Led by a combination of James and Bosh, the Raptors outscored the Celtics by
five in the third quarter, and trailed by just four heading into the final
quarter, 81-77. Aside from a Pape Sow basket, James and Bosh accounted for
every Toronto point in the period.

Boston shot 54.7 percent from the field, and 42.9 percent from beyond the arc
(9-of-21).

Toronto shot 45.7 percent and just 23.5 percent from three point range (4-
of-17).

Game Notes

Sow started at center for Toronto, scoring nine points and grabbing four
boards…The Celtics outrebounded the Raptors, 36-33…Toronto has now lost
seven straight in Boston…On Friday, Boston will travel to Cleveland, while
Toronto will play host to Minnesota…Bostons Al Jefferson did not dress due
to a sprained right ankle and is expected to miss at least the next two games.

BOS TOR