<
>

Hill has double double, McGrady hurts ankle in loss

12/2/2002

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- The Boston Celtics got their shots to start
falling in the third quarter and their defense on track in the
fourth.

Paul Pierce scored 18 of his 27 points after halftime and Eric
Williams added a season-high 21 as Boston won for the sixth time in
seven games, beating the Orlando Magic 102-97 Monday night.

''It's a huge win,'' said Pierce, who also had 10 rebounds and
eight assists. ''Coming in here against a quality team -- the Magic
have been playing really well lately -- to get a win on (the second
game of) a back-to-back, this is one of our biggest wins of the
season.

The Celtics took a 94-93 lead on Williams' dunk with 4:01
remaining, and Antoine Walker followed with a layin off a break.
Walker had 19 points and eight rebounds.

After Orlando's Tracy McGrady hit a jumper to cut the deficit to
one point with 2:41 to go, the Magic missed four shots and
committed two turnovers in their final seven possessions. Pierce
clinched the win with four free throws in the final 1:07, shooting
10-for-12 from the line.

''Regardless of how the first three quarters have gone, we've
been a great defensive team in the fourth quarter,'' Pierce said.
''We have confidence we can get stops in the fourth quarter when we
need them, regardless of how our offense is rolling.''

McGrady, his first step diminished after turning an ankle early,
used his outside game to score 25 points. Grant Hill had 22 points
and a season-high 13 rebounds, while Mike Miller had 18 points.

Aside from those three players, the Magic shot 27 percent
(10-for-37).

''I thought this was a very winnable game for us, even after
Tracy's ankle,'' Orlando coach Doc Rivers said. ''Some of our
shooters didn't make shots.''

McGrady, picked earlier Monday as the Eastern Conference's
Player of the Month, appeared to turn his left ankle on a drive to
the hoop late in the first quarter. He hobbled around the court in
obvious pain before collapsing on his back.

He returned to the game after a brief trip to the locker room,
but he ran gingerly for the rest of the game, even passing up a
dunk on a second-quarter breakaway and barely jumping for a layin.

''I'll be fine,'' McGrady said. ''I've twisted my ankle so many
times, I'll be all right.''

McGrady shot 9-for-21, including 4-of-8 on 3-pointers. But
without his ability to drive, he was a shadow of the player who is
leading the league in scoring.

''Every time I penetrated, I was scared that I was going to step
on someone's foot,'' McGrady said. ''So, I was really thinking
about my ankle the whole time I was out there, It kind of took me
out of my game as far as penetrating, creating for the guys.''

Boston's usual barrage of 3-pointers was cut short in the first
half by Orlando's perimeter defense, which held the Celtics to
1-for-9 shooting beyond the arc.

But Boston found its shooting touch from the outside after the
break, making four of its first six 3-pointers en route to an 81-75
lead entering the final quarter.

In the second half, the Celtics shot 50 percent from the field.

Game notes
Boston has lost 17 of 27 games in Orlando ... Boston
forward Walter McCarty made his first start in two seasons,
replacing Williams in the lineup. Celtics coach Jim O'Brien said
McCarty's size was a better fit for matching up with the Magic.
McCarty had eight points in 34 minutes ... Garrity has hit at least
one 3-pointer in 45 consecutive games, the longest active streak in
the NBA. ... Walker was hit with a technical midway through the
fourth quarter for complaining on a foul call. His eight technical
fouls lead the NBA.