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Fourth-Quarter Rally Lifts Celtics

April 03, 2002|From Associated Press

Paul Pierce and the Boston Celtics think they can come back from any kind of deficit.

Pierce scored 29 points, and Boston used a big fourth quarter to rally past the Indiana Pacers, 105-94, Tuesday night at Indianapolis.

Erick Strickland scored 22 points and Walter McCarty had 18 points and 12 rebounds for Boston, which outscored the Pacers, 36-14, in the fourth quarter.

"My mind-set was that I never thought it was over," Pierce said. "That's a tremendous strength of our ball club--always believing that we will come back. When we can spread the court and get our three-point shooters going, we never feel like we're out of it."

The Celtics are third in the Eastern Conference, two games ahead of Orlando.

Reggie Miller scored 26 points for Indiana, which is a game in front of Toronto for the eighth and final playoff spot in the East.

Pierce, who scored just three points in the fourth quarter, shot six of 11 from the field and 14 of 16 on free throws. Reserve forward Rodney Rogers hit four three-pointers and scored 14 points.

Indiana was in front almost the entire first three quarters, and led 80-69 going into the final period.

Boston, trailing by 10 midway through the fourth, held the Pacers scoreless for more than five minutes. Rogers hit two three-pointers and McCarty one as the Celtics scored 13 straight points for an 88-86 lead with 5:22 to play.

Detroit 90, Miami 87--Ben Wallace grabbed 16 rebounds and blocked six shots, including one by Alonzo Mourning with 15 seconds left to preserve the lead for the Pistons at Miami. The Pistons, who have won 15 of their past 18 road games, trail the New Jersey Nets for the Eastern Conference lead by two games with eight to go.

Detroit led by one when Wallace blocked a hook shot by Mourning. Jerry Stackhouse then made one of two free throws with 12 seconds remaining to put the Pistons up by two, and Miami's LaPhonso Ellis badly missed a three-point try with three seconds left.

Denver 98, Utah 90--Juwan Howard scored 20 points, and Calbert Cheaney added 17 as the Nuggets won at Denver. Utah, which had won five of six, is four games ahead of the Clippers for the final playoff spot in the West. Utah plays the Clippers tonight.

Malone sprained his right knee early in the first quarter after Denver's Calbert Cheaney lost his balance and fell into him under the basket.

Houston 100, Seattle 98--Steve Francis scored 32 points and Houston's reserves played a major role in a rally at Houston.

Gary Payton finished with 25 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds for the SuperSonics, who led by as many as 13 in the third quarter, and were ahead, 84-74, with 9:51 remaining.

But four points each from Moochie Norris and Terence Morris helped fuel a 17-4 run for a 91-88 lead with four minutes to play. In all, the Rockets' reserves contributed 15 of the team's last 23 points.

Golden State 107, Portland 91--Jason Richardson scored 26 points as the Warriors won at Oakland to hand the Trail Blazers their fourth loss in five games.

Reserve guard Bob Sura scored 12 of his 23 points in the final quarter, when the last-place Warriors outscored Portland, 30-13. Gilbert Arenas had 22 points and Antawn Jamison 20 for the Warriors, who broke a four-game losing streak.

Rasheed Wallace led Portland with 20 points.

New York 91, Charlotte 85--Mark Jackson had 13 points and nine assists and Kurt Thomas had 11 points and 19 rebounds for the Knicks at New York. Charlotte fell into a three-way tie with Philadelphia and Milwaukee for fifth place in the Eastern Conference.

Jackson scored seven in a row for New York midway through the fourth quarter to help keep the Knicks ahead.

Atlanta 100, Milwaukee 92--DerMarr Johnson scored a career-high 28 points and Jason Terry added 19 for the Hawks at Atlanta. It was the seventh consecutive road loss for the Bucks.

The game was delayed 28 minutes in the fourth quarter because of a power failure. The Hawks were leading 82-78 with 7:28 remaining when most of the overhead lights went out at Philips Arena.

Cleveland 101, Phoenix 96--Ricky Davis scored 28 points for the Cavaliers at Cleveland as they broke a six-game losing streak. Shawn Marion scored 28 points and hit a three-pointer with 14.9 seconds left that brought the Suns to 98-96. Davis then made just one of two free throws, giving Phoenix a chance to tie it.

But Stephon Marbury was short with a 30-footer with seven seconds remaining, and Tyrone Hill made two free throws to seal it for Cleveland.

Sacramento 107, Memphis 83--The Kings had six players in double figures, led by Bobby Jackson's 19, to win easily at Memphis, Tenn. The victory was the fifth consecutive for the Kings, who led, 59-37 at halftime. Sacramento forward Peja Stojakovic sat out his seventh consecutive game with a strained right hamstring.

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