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NBA FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL --- --- --- --- ----- BOSTON 27 30 30 19 106 CHICAGO 21 35 22 26 104 FINAL

HIGH SCORERS: BOS - PAUL PIERCE 24, ANTOINE WALKER 23, MILT PALACIO 19 CHI - ELTON BRAND 22, RON MERCER 17, BRAD MILLER 15

HIGH REBOUND: BOS - ANTOINE WALKER 11, MARK BLOUNT 8 CHI - ELTON BRAND 11, FRED HOIBERG 8

HIGH ASSISTS: BOS - ANTOINE WALKER 11, TWO PLAYERS WITH 3 CHI - JAMAL CRAWFORD 7, FRED HOIBERG 5

ATT: 22,233


Extended Box

BOSTON (106) AT CHICAGO (104)

BOSTON REBOUNDS PLAYER POS MIN FGM-FGA FTM-FTA OFF-DEF-TOT AST PF ST TO PTS ====== === === ======= ======= =========== === == == == ===

PIERCE F 34 7-14 7-9 0 7 7 1 3 0 3 24 WALKER F 40 7-22 4-9 3 8 11 11 4 1 0 23 BLOUNT C 24 5-5 1-1 3 5 8 1 4 3 2 11 BROWN G 17 1-3 0-0 0 1 1 3 3 1 1 2 STITH G 33 3-5 2-4 1 2 3 1 4 0 0 8 E WILLIAMS 23 1-10 1-2 2 1 3 2 0 1 0 3 GRIFFIN 9 1-2 0-0 0 2 2 0 0 0 0 3 PALACIO 31 6-11 7-9 2 0 2 3 1 0 1 19 POTAPENKO 27 4-9 3-4 1 5 6 0 3 0 1 11 MCCARTY 2 1-2 0-0 1 0 1 0 1 0 0 2 HERREN DNP - COACH'S DECISION MOISO DNP - COACH'S DECISION

TOTALS 240 36-83 25-38 13 31 44 22 23 6 8 106 (.434) (.658) TEAM REBS: 10 TOTAL TO: 8(10 PTS)

CHICAGO REBOUNDS PLAYER POS MIN FGM-FGA FTM-FTA OFF-DEF-TOT AST PF ST TO PTS ====== === === ======= ======= =========== === == == == ===

ARTEST F 24 4-8 0-0 0 4 4 4 3 0 4 8 BRAND F 37 9-16 4-7 4 7 11 3 4 2 3 22 MILLER C 24 5-7 5-5 1 2 3 3 3 0 0 15 CRAWFORD G 28 4-6 2-2 0 4 4 7 2 0 2 12 MERCER G 46 8-19 1-1 2 5 7 4 3 0 1 17 C BENJAMIN 1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 FIZER 32 5-10 2-3 0 6 6 0 4 0 1 12 VOSKUHL 3 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 HOIBERG 23 2-5 5-6 1 7 8 5 1 2 0 9 GUYTON 20 2-5 2-3 0 1 1 3 4 0 0 7 GOODRICH 2 1-1 0-0 0 0 0 0 3 0 0 2 BAGARIC DNP - COACH'S DECISION

TOTALS 240 40-77 21-27 8 36 44 29 29 4 12 104 (.519) (.778) TEAM REBS: 5 TOTAL TO: 13(11 PTS)

BOSTON 27 30 30 19 - 106 CHICAGO 21 35 22 26 - 104

BLOCKED SHOTS: BOSTON - WALKER, BLOUNT, POTAPENKO. CHICAGO - BRAND 5, MERCER. 3-PT. FIELD GOALS: BOSTON 9-23 (.391), PIERCE 3-6, WALKER 5-12, STITH 0-1, E WILLIAMS 0-1, GRIFFIN 1-1, PALACIO 0-1, MCCARTY 0-1. CHICAGO 3-8 (.375), CRAWFORD 2-3, MERCER 0-1, HOIBERG 0-2, GUYTON 1-2. TECHNICALS: CHICAGO - ILLEGAL DEFENSE. OFFICIALS: BLANE REICHELT, BENNETT SALVATORE, GEORGE TOLIVER. A - 22,233. T - 2:20.


Box Score

BOSTON (106) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp Pierce 34 7-14 7-9 0-7 1 3 24 Walker 40 7-22 4-9 3-11 11 4 23 Blount 24 5-5 1-1 3-8 1 4 11 Brown 17 1-3 0-0 0-1 3 3 2 Stith 33 3-5 2-4 1-3 1 4 8 E Williams 23 1-10 1-2 2-3 2 0 3 Griffin 9 1-2 0-0 0-2 0 0 3 Palacio 31 6-11 7-9 2-2 3 1 19 Potapenko 27 4-9 3-4 1-6 0 3 11 Mccarty 2 1-2 0-0 1-1 0 1 2 Herren DNP - coach's decision Moiso DNP - coach's decision _______________________________________________ TOTALS 240 36-83 25-38 13-44 22 23 106 _______________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.434, FT-.658. 3-Point Goals: 9-23, .391 (Pierce 3-6, Walker 5-12, Stith 0-1, E Williams 0-1, Griffin 1-1, Palacio 0-1, Mccarty 0-1). Team rebounds: 10. Blocked shots: 3 (Walker, Blount, Potapenko). Turnovers: 8 (Pierce 3, Blount 2, Brown, Palacio, Potapenko). Steals: 6 (Blount 3, Brown, E Williams, Walker).

CHICAGO (104) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp Artest 24 4-8 0-0 0-4 4 3 8 Brand 37 9-16 4-7 4-11 3 4 22 Miller 24 5-7 5-5 1-3 3 3 15 Crawford 28 4-6 2-2 0-4 7 2 12 Mercer 46 8-19 1-1 2-7 4 3 17 C Benjamin 1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 1 0 Fizer 32 5-10 2-3 0-6 0 4 12 Voskuhl 3 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 1 0 Hoiberg 23 2-5 5-6 1-8 5 1 9 Guyton 20 2-5 2-3 0-1 3 4 7 Goodrich 2 1-1 0-0 0-0 0 3 2 Bagaric DNP - coach's decision _______________________________________________ TOTALS 240 40-77 21-27 8-44 29 29 104 _______________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.519, FT-.778. 3-Point Goals: 3-8, .375 (Crawford 2-3, Mercer 0-1, Hoiberg 0-2, Guyton 1-2). Team rebounds: 5. Blocked shots: 6 (Brand 5, Mercer). Turnovers: 13 (Artest 4, Brand 3, Crawford 2, Fizer, Mercer, Voskuhl). Steals: 4 (Brand 2, Hoiberg 2). ____________________________________________ Boston 27 30 30 19 - 106 Chicago 21 35 22 26 - 104 ____________________________________________ Technical fouls: Chicago 1 (Illegal Defense, 9:46 2nd). Flagrant fouls: None. A: 22,233. T: 2:20. Officials: Blane Reichelt, Bennett Salvatore, George Toliver.


Game Story

CHICAGO (Ticker) -- The Boston Celtics played as if they had an Eastern Conference playoff berth wrapped up.

Fighting for their postseason lives, the Celtics nearly blew a 13-point lead to the lowly Chicago Bulls but escaped with a 106-104 victory, their fourth straight triumph.

Boston came in tied with Indiana for the eighth spot in the East. The Pacers suffered a 104-93 loss at Atlanta that allowed the Celtics to move one game in front, setting the scene for a matchup between the teams in Boston on Friday.

"We're in a good position," Paul Pierce said. "But we can't relax because tomorrow is a big showdown. Every game seems to be too close for comfort, but someway we're finding a way to win tight games and a win is a win."

Despite Chicago native Antoine Walker's fifth triple-double of the season, the Celtics allowed the Bulls to chip away after building a 95-82 lead with 10:08 to play.

"I needed it bad, man," Walker said. "I've been struggling against Chicago, but I still didn't play too great. I missed a lot of free throws, but the main thing is with 12 games to go, we got the win."

Former Celtic Ron Mercer cut the deficit to 103-100 on a tip-in with 1:07 to go. After Walker missed an ill-advised 3-pointer, Fred Hoiberg made a pair from the line to pull Chicago within 103-102 with 28 seconds left.

Milt Palacio, who scored a career-high 19 points, knocked down two free throws to give Boston a three-point edge with 18 seconds remaining. On the ensuing inbounds play, Walker stripped Elton Brand and the ball rolled off Brand's knee out of bounds, giving the Celtics possession with 17.2 seconds to go.

"We were trying to get it to Marcus (Fizer) at the foul line area," Bulls coach Tim Floyd said. Our second option was Elton popping up and Walker again did a nice job of denying it."

After Bryant Stith split from the line, Mercer swished a jumper from the right sideline with his foot on the arc, making it 106-104.

Palacio missed two free throws, giving the Bulls life. However, Mercer threw up an off-balanced banker from the right wing that caromed off the rim. It was tipped in after time expired.

"The way it was designed was to throw it as close to the lane and then go get the ball back to me, and then do whatever I could," Mercer said. "Whether it was driving to the basket or taking a 3-point shot ... It was off the rim, what more can I say?"

Walker finished with 23 points, 11 assists and 11 rebounds and Pierce 24 for the Celtics, who improved to 21-16 under interim coach Jim O'Brien and won five straight road games since the 1993 season.

Walker went 5-of-12 from the arc and 4-of-9 from the line. The team went 9-of-23 from 3-point range and shot 43 percent (36-of-83), but just 25-of-38 from the line.

Mercer started a 10-2 surge with a 20-foot jumper with 9:50 to play. Hoiberg and rookie Marcus Fizer chipped in four points each to pull Chicago within 97-92 with 6:09 remaining.

The teams traded baskets until Hoiberg, who scored seven points in the fourth period, sandwiched three free throws around the tip-in by Mercer with 67 seconds on the clock.

Brand led five players in double digits with 22 points and 11 rebounds. Mercer added 17 points, Brad Miller 15 and rookie Jamal Crawford had 12 as Chicago's starters went 30-of-56 from the floor. The team shot shot 51 percent (40-of-77) overall.

"We just have to remember, we are playing for next year." Mercer added.

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