Friday , Apr , 07 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Playoff hopes fading for Celtics

(Sports Network) – Wednesday night’s fourth-quarter breakdown versus
Washington was a preview of what’s to come for the Boston Celtics.

Just when they were in the hunt for the eighth and final playoff spot in the
Eastern Conference, the Celtics have lost four of their last six games,
including Wednesday’s 108-91 setback to the Wizards.

Paul Pierce, an MVP candidate, buried a three-pointer in the fourth quarter to
trim the deficit to 91-85 for Boston. However, Wizards star Gilbert Arenas
led a 17-6 run to end the game and push the Celtics four games behind the
Chicago Bulls for the eighth and final playoff spot in the East.

The Bulls defeated Philadelphia on Wednesday night to take over the final
playoff spot by one-half game over the Sixers.

Pierce had 29 points and seven rebounds against Washington for Boston, which
made only 3-of-14 field goals in the fourth quarter and was outscored 29-13
over the final 12 minutes of action.

Losers of eight of the last 12 games, the Celtics will travel to Philadelphia
on Friday night for a showdown with Allen Iverson and the 76ers.

Friday’s game between the Celtics and Sixers is the fourth and final meeting
of the season. The Celtics have a 2-1 lead in the season series and have won
six of the last 10 matchups with Philadelphia.

Philly has lost four of six and five of its last eight at Boston, which is
four games off the playoff pace with seven contests on the remaining schedule.