Regular Season Series (Game 3 of 4)

Series starts 11/18

Game 1: Friday, November 18th
Game 2: Sunday, March 5th
Game 3: Wednesday, March 22nd
Game 4: Tuesday, April 4th

Raptors 96

(25-43, 12-23 away)

Celtics 110

(29-40, 20-15 home)

    7:30 PM ET, March 22, 2006

    TD Garden, Boston, MA

    1 2 3 4 T
    TOR 27 25 25 1996
    BOS 30 31 20 29110

    Top Performers

    Tor: C. Bosh 24 Pts, 11 Reb, 8 Ast, 2 Stl

    Bos: P. Pierce 32 Pts, 8 Reb, 4 Ast

    Banged-up Pierce leads Celts past Raptors

    BOSTON (AP) -- Paul Pierce fought through nagging injuries to carry the Boston Celtics to another victory.

    Pierce scored 32 points to lift the Celtics over the Toronto Raptors 110-96 on Wednesday night.

    Pierce has been playing with bursitis in his elbow and sprained his ankle Monday against the Lakers.

    "Pierce is an All-Star and is paid enough money to play through injuries," Raptors coach Sam Mitchell said. "The guy has been scoring 30 points or more every night, but no one was helping Morris (Peterson) stop him on defense."

    Pierce ended a drought of three games with under 30 points while shooting 39 percent from the field during that stretch. He scored 30 or more in 15 of the previous 18 games.

    "I was disappointed in the Lakers game for not being more aggressive," Pierce said. "I wanted to be aggressive from the start and put pressure on the defense."

    Delonte West scored 21 points and Wally Szczerbiak added 19 for Boston.

    Toronto closed within 91-86 with 6:22 remaining, but Boston iced the game with a 10-3 run to take a 101-89 lead with 3:03 remaining.

    "This is definitely disappointing," Peterson said. "We just can't seem to get over the mountaintop. When you get outrebounded, they get to the foul line more and shoot better, they deserve to win."

    Mike James led the Raptors with 31 points, but was held to two free throws in the fourth quarter.

    "We chose to make him a decision-maker instead of a scorer in the fourth quarter," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said.

    Chris Bosh had 24 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists for the Raptors, who lost for the second time in the last six games.

    The Celtics won for the second time in six games. Boston has defeated Toronto eight straight times at home, with Toronto's last win coming on Nov. 23, 2001.

    Bosh and James scored 23 of the Raptors' 25 points in the third quarter as Toronto cut the Celtics' lead to 81-77 after three.

    Pierce scored 14 points in the first quarter, helping the Celtics to a 30-27 lead. There were 13 lead changes and three ties in that span. Szczerbiak and Pierce combined for eight straight points late in the second quarter to help Boston open a 61-50 lead, its largest of the game.

    The Raptors missed a chance to win three straight road games for the first time this season.

    Game notes

    Boston has split its last 20 home games. ... Peterson played in his 346th straight game, the NBA's longest current streak. ... The Celtics shot 55 percent overall.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 96 110
    FGM-FGA 37-81 (.457) 35-64 (.547)
    3PM-3PA 4-17 (.235) 9-21 (.429)
    FTM-FTA 18-24 (.750) 31-40 (.775)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 10-33 4-36
    Assists 20 24
    Turnovers 14 18
    Steals 12 8
    Blocks 2 3
    Fast Break Points 14 8
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 25 (1/0) 23 (2/0)
    Largest Lead 4 15

    Top Performers

    Chris Bosh Bosh
    Points: 24
    Reb: 11
    Ast: 8
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 0
    Paul Pierce Pierce
    Points: 32
    Reb: 8
    Ast: 4
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 0