Pierce adds 21 points and 15 rebounds for Boston

BOSTON (AP) -- The Boston Celtics didn't have much trouble
against the worst team in the Eastern Conference.

Ricky Davis came off the bench to score 30 points, and Paul
Pierce had 21 points and 15 rebounds Friday night to lift the
Celtics to their seventh win in eight home games, 106-94 over the
Atlanta Hawks.

The Celtics, who have struggled away from home this season, were
barely tested by the 6-27 Hawks.

"It was a win. I didn't think we played great," Boston coach
Doc Rivers said. "We played good in stretches."

The Hawks trailed by double digits at some point in each of the
first three quarters and fell behind by 12 early in the fourth
before making a brief charge.

The Celtics opened the final quarter by scoring the first six
points, taking an 88-76 lead on Al Jefferson's free throw with 8:43
to play, but the Hawks sliced it to 90-85 on Predrag Drobnjak's
3-pointer with 6:03 left.

"I thought when we cut it to five we had a legitimate shot, and
then they hit a three and a two to drop it back to 10," Atlanta
coach Mike Woodson said. "We could never recover from that."

Gary Payton added 15 points and seven assists for Boston.

Former Celtic Antoine Walker had a double-double for the sixth
straight game by halftime. He finished with 21 points on 10-of-30
shooting and had 17 rebounds. Drobnjak matched his season-high with
20 points for the Hawks.

After the Hawks closed to five early in the fourth, Pierce had a
basket and Raef LaFrentz nailed a 3-pointer from the right wing,
making it 95-85. The Celtics kept it up after an Atlanta timeout
when Pierce nailed a short jumper and Davis followed with another

That would be more than enough to help the Celtics coast to
their 12th win in 18 home games this season.

"We feel good. We're trying to protect our home court," Davis
said. "Guys just feel comfortable here."

Pierce also admitted he certainly didn't want to let his former
teammate and friend, Walker, spoil the night.

"When you're playing against a guy that you've played with and
is a friend, you don't want him to get bragging rights," Pierce

Walker felt the Hawks could have won if they converted some easy

"It's unfortunate because we played well enough to win, but
there were way too many missed layups and free throws if you want
to win on the road," he said.

Atlanta was 15-for-29 from the line, and shot only 40.4 percent
from the floor.

Atlanta dropped to 2-13 on the road.

The Celtics, who never trailed and were tied only at 2-all,
opened a 15-point first quarter lead and led 55-47 at halftime
^Notes:@ Boston F Tom Gugliotta left before the game due to an
illness. ... The Hawks were trying to win consecutive games for the
first time this season. ... Pop Star Gavin DeGraw performed a free
concert after the game. ... Walker playfully pulled on Jefferson's
jersey when the pair lined up at the free throw line. Jefferson
wears No. 8, which was Walker's old number. ... Boston is 8-1 when
Payton scores at least 15 points. ... Pierce's 15 rebounds tied a
career high.