Boston snaps 6-game slide

BOSTON (AP) -- Jiri Welsch started at point guard in place of
injured Gary Payton and scored 16 points to lead Boston over the
Detroit Pistons 96-84 Wednesday night in the Celtics' final
preseason game.

Tom Gugliotta added 12 points for the Celtics, 2-6 after
snapping a six-game preseason losing streak.

Ben Wallace and Tayshaun Prince had 15 points apiece for NBA
champion Detroit (3-4).

With the game tied at 68, the Celtics scored the final seven
points of the third quarter on free throws to take the lead for
good. Rookie Tony Allen started the run with two free throws with
29 seconds left in the period.

The Celtics opened the fourth quarter with a 12-4 run to put the
game out of reach. Rookie Delonte West hit a 3-pointer with 6:46
remaining to give Boston an 87-72 lead.

Ricky Davis added 12 points and Paul Pierce 11 for Boston.

Payton, who broke his right thumb in Boston's 95-88 loss to
Cleveland on Monday, is day-to-day but is expected to play when the
Celtics open the regular season against Philadelphia on Nov. 3.

Boston's projected starting lineup of Pierce, Davis, Raef
LaFrentz, Payton and Mark Blount started only two preseason games

Detroit outscored Boston 28-25 in the first quarter and extended
the lead to 30-25 when Lindsey Hunter hit a layup on the first
possession of the second period. But the Celtics outscored the
Pistons 25-16 in the quarter to take a 50-44 halftime lead.

Detroit closes out its preseason Friday at Minnesota. The
Pistons open their title defense at home against Houston on