Final

Regular Season Series (Game 2 of 2)

Series starts 2/10

Game 1: Friday, February 10th
Trail Blazers83Final
Celtics115
Game 2: Friday, February 24th
Celtics102Final
Trail Blazers96

Celtics 102

(22-33, 6-21 away)

Trail Blazers 96

(18-36, 12-15 home)

    7:00 PM ET, February 24, 2006

    Moda Center, Portland, OR

    1 2 3 4 T
    BOS 25 25 28 24102
    POR 23 29 21 2396

    Top Performers

    Boston: P. Pierce 37 Pts, 7 Reb, 7 Ast, 1 Blk

    Portland: Z. Randolph 19 Pts, 8 Reb, 7 Ast, 1 Blk

    Pierce pours in 37 in Celtics' win over Portland

    PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- Paul Pierce is playing like the athlete Doc Rivers believes he can be.

    Portland's financial woes
    Representatives of the Blazers met with Portland Mayor Tom Potter and other local officials Friday after telling The Associated Press the day before that the team was hemorrhaging money and would be unable to survive without some sort of "public-private partnership."

    Pierce scored 37 points, his seventh time over 30 in the last eight games, and the Boston Celtics beat the short-handed Portland Trail Blazers 102-96 Friday night.

    Wally Szczerbiak had 25 points and Ryan Gomes added 13 points and a season-high 17 rebounds for the Celtics, who improved to 4-6 in the last 10 games, a span where Pierce is averaging 32.8 points.

    "He's been great," said Rivers, the Celtics' second-year coach. "He's been in a zone on the floor, off the floor with teammates. He's just been in a zone all the way around."

    Rookie Martell Webster had 17 of his season-high 24 in the first half to lead the Blazers.

    Portland's eighth loss in nine games came after a tumultuous couple of days where representatives of billionaire owner Paul Allen went public with projections of big fiscal losses and the Blazers traded unhappy forward Ruben Patterson.

    To make matters worse, rookie point guard Sebastian Telfair began a two-game league suspension for carrying a loaded gun on team flight two weeks ago in Boston.

    Portland was playing with just nine players. Centers Theo Ratliff and Joel Przybilla were injured, and newly acquired forward Brian Skinner (Sacramento) and guard Voshon Lenard (Denver) are unavailable until Sunday.

    Zach Randolph had 19 points, eight rebounds and seven assists for the Blazers. Darius Miles had 16 points.

    Webster, taken by Portland with the sixth pick in the NBA draft, has impressed coach Nate McMillan with his consistent effort and good outside shooting since being recalled Feb. 3 from Fort Worth of the National Basketball Developmental League. McMillan elected to give the 6-foot-7 shooting guard the start in place of Juan Dixon on Friday night.

    "Tonight was a great experience, a confidence boost," Webster said.

    Portland trailed 50-49 at halftime and got as close as 93-90 with 2:54 left in the game.

    Pierce, who scored 35 points in a 115-83 rout of the Blazers on Feb. 10, took over from there, making two free throws and two layups to make it 99-92, effectively putting the game out reach.

    Pierce made 14 of 25 shots and was 7-of-8 on free throws, and seemed especially comfortable on the floor with Szczerbiak, acquired Jan. 26 in a trade with Minnesota. The Celtics have won two of their last three road games.

    "I think we're finally coming into our own on the road," Pierce said. "Hopefully we can make this a good road trip and get the next one."

    Representatives of the Blazers met with Portland Mayor Tom Potter and other local officials Friday after telling The Associated Press the day before that the team was hemorrhaging money and would be unable to survive without some sort of "public-private partnership."

    Looking to dump salary as it looks toward the future, Portland traded away Patterson, who had repeatedly requested to be moved, along with Charles Smith and rookie Sergei Monia, as part of a four-team deal where they received Lenard and Skinner.

    There were some bright spots for the Blazers -- one was Webster. Another was a fairly robust crowd of 16,717, a number that surprised McMillan given declining attendance all year and the bad news of recent days.

    "I saw a few surprises tonight," he said. "People came out -- and they stayed and showed their support."

    The Celtics have had injuries of their own -- Kendrick Perkins has a dislocated left shoulder, Al Jefferson has a sprained ankle, and Szczerbiak returned after missing a game with a bruised left knee.

    Steve Blake had 13 points and eight assists for the Blazers.

    Game notes


    Gomes, a rookie out of Providence, was coming off a 10-rebound performance against Phoenix on Wednesday. ... Przybilla continues the progress slowly from a knee injury that's kept him out of seven games. Ratliff could be out another two weeks with sprained ankle. ... Miles missed the team shootaround, saying he was sick, and didn't start.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

    SPONSORED HEADLINES

    Team Stat Comparison

     
    BOS
    POR
    Points 102 96
    FGM-FGA 38-78 (.487) 39-79 (.494)
    3PM-3PA 8-17 (.471) 6-14 (.429)
    FTM-FTA 18-24 (.750) 12-19 (.632)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 13-40 12-36
    Assists 21 28
    Turnovers 12 12
    Steals 5 6
    Blocks 3 6
    Fast Break Points 6 10
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 19 (0/0) 20 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 9 3

    Top Performers

    Boston
    Portland
    Paul Pierce Pierce
    Points: 37
    Reb: 7
    Ast: 7
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 1
    Zach Randolph Randolph
    Points: 19
    Reb: 8
    Ast: 7
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 1