Final

Regular Season Series (Game 2 of 2)

Series starts 1/3

Game 1: Friday, January 3rd
Trail Blazers108Final
Celtics103
Game 2: Thursday, February 13th
Celtics100Final
Trail Blazers92

Celtics 100

(29-22, 12-13 away)

Trail Blazers 92

(32-18, 14-8 home)

    7:00 PM ET, February 13, 2003

    Moda Center, Portland, OR

    1 2 3 4 T
    BOS 39 12 21 28100
    POR 23 20 28 2192

    Top Performers

    Boston: P. Pierce 36 Pts, 4 Reb, 4 Ast, 2 Stl, 1 Blk

    Portland: R. Wallace 30 Pts, 7 Reb, 1 Ast, 2 Stl

    Celtics blow big lead but fight back to top Blazers

    PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- Even if Paul Pierce wasn't convinced he could play against the Portland Trail Blazers, his teammates were.

     Paul Pierce
    Pierce

    Pierce, hampered by a groin strain, scored 36 points in the Boston Celtics' 100-92 victory Thursday night.

    Although doubtful before the game, Pierce hit a 360-degree dunk during warmups and it was clear he could go.

    "We knew he was going to play,'' said teammate Antoine Walker, who had 19 points. "He looked like the best playing basketball outside of Kobe Bryant. That was some Kobiness that he had tonight, scoring in spurts, driving and shooting like he did tonight.''

    The All-Star shooting guard, who injured his right groin against Seattle on Tuesday night, scored 20 points in the first quarter alone.

    "I know I'm not going to do a 360 in a game, so if I can get through that I know I can get through running it up and down,'' said Pierce, who described himself at about 90 percent.

    The Celtics let a 20-point lead slip away in the second half but recovered in the final two minutes to hold off the Blazers.

    Boston maintained its lead until the fourth quarter, when Rasheed Wallace made a pair of free throws to put the Blazers ahead 73-72.

    Although the Celtics briefly took the lead back on Walter McCarty's jumper, Derek Anderson hit a 3-pointer and followed it up with a fadeaway jumper to give the Blazers a 78-74 advantage.

    Portland stretched that lead to seven points before Boston's Eric Williams hit a pair of free throws to tie it at 92 with 1:57 left. After Bonzi Wells missed two foul shots, McCarty hit a 3-pointer to give the Celtics a 95-92 lead with 1:13 to go.

    Walker hit another 3 with 37 seconds left to make it 98-92, and the Blazers couldn't recover.

    Wallace had 30 points and seven rebounds for the Blazers, who have lost two straight after winning 22 of 27 heading into the All-Star break.

    "That was one of the toughest losses we've had,'' Trail Blazers coach Maurice Cheeks said. "It looked like we had the game under control, and then we made some bad decisions down the stretch.''

    The Celtics won their second straight after a four-game losing streak.

    Pierce and the Celtics were so dominant in the first quarter that a fan in the stands yelled to Blazers coach Maurice Cheeks: "Is this on purpose?''

    "I wish,'' Cheeks replied.

    But Pierce got called for his third foul early in the second quarter and sat down for the remainder of the half.

    The Blazers took advantage of his absence, going on a 14-2 run to open the second quarter and squeeze the margin to 41-37 on Zach Randolph's hook shot with 6:42 to go before halftime.

    The Celtics took a 51-43 lead into halftime.

    The Blazers led 14-7 before McCarty, Pierce, J.R. Bremer and Walker hit consecutive 3-pointers to start a 30-3 Celtics run.

    Boston coach Jim O'Brien got two technicals and was ejected after he angrily argued a foul call against Vin Baker early in the fourth quarter.

    "That was one of my all-time favorite wins,'' O'Brien said. "It shows a lot of guts to come back like that.''

    The Celtics snapped a four-game losing streak with an 82-76 win over Seattle on Tuesday -- their first game of a six-game road trip.

    Game notes
    Boston's Tony Battie did not play because of a bad case of the flu. He also missed Tuesday's game against the SuperSonics because of personal reasons. ... Pierce has started 251 straight regular-season games. ... Wallace drew his sixth technical foul of the season with 6:45 left in the third quarter. ... Oregon basketball coach Ernie Kent was in attendance. ... Boston assistant Lester Conner took over after O'Brien was ejected.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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    Team Stat Comparison

     
    BOS
    POR
    Points 100 92
    FGM-FGA 35-77 (.455) 31-63 (.492)
    3PM-3PA 14-38 (.368) 2-15 (.133)
    FTM-FTA 16-23 (.696) 28-41 (.683)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 4-28 8-43
    Assists 24 23
    Turnovers 15 24
    Steals 13 7
    Blocks 2 2
    Fast Break Points 6 3
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 29 (3/0) 22 (1/0)

    Top Performers

    Boston
    Portland
    Paul Pierce Pierce
    Points: 36
    Reb: 4
    Ast: 4
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 1
    Rasheed Wallace Wallace
    Points: 30
    Reb: 7
    Ast: 1
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 0