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NBA   FINAL            1ST  2ND  3RD  4TH   TOTAL
                       ---  ---  ---  ---   -----
      BOSTON           22   26   29   26    103  
      MINNESOTA        20   25   31   24    100     FINAL

HIGH SCORERS:   BOS - PAUL PIERCE 32, GARY PAYTON 22, RICKY 
                      DAVIS 12
                MIN - KEVIN GARNETT 21, MICHAEL OLOWOKANDI 21,
                      FRED HOIBERG 14

HIGH REBOUND:   BOS - RAEF LAFRENTZ 15, MARK BLOUNT 5, 
                      KENDRICK PERKINS 5
                MIN - KEVIN GARNETT 13, MICHAEL OLOWOKANDI 9, 
                      SAM CASSELL 6

HIGH ASSISTS:   BOS - GARY PAYTON 7, MARK BLOUNT 3, JIRI 
                      WELSCH 3
                MIN - SAM CASSELL 9, KEVIN GARNETT 7, LATRELL 
                      SPREWELL 6

         ATT:   16,174

Box Score

BOSTON (103) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp P Pierce 35 8-16 15-16 0-3 2 2 32 R LaFrentz 36 3-10 0-0 4-15 0 5 7 M Blount 30 3-7 2-2 2-5 3 3 8 T Allen 18 1-5 1-2 0-3 0 0 3 G Payton 36 10-18 1-2 2-4 7 0 22 R Davis 32 5-11 2-2 1-2 2 1 12 W Mccarty 18 2-5 0-0 1-2 1 2 4 M Banks 12 2-4 1-1 1-1 1 2 5 J Welsch 11 1-4 0-0 0-0 3 3 2 K Perkins 12 2-3 4-4 2-5 0 4 8 T Gugliotta DNP - FLU D West DNP - COACH'S DECISION _____________________________________________________ TOTALS 240 37-83 26-29 13-40 19 22 103 _____________________________________________________ Percentages: FG-.446, FT-.897. 3-Point Goals: 3-12, .250 (P Pierce 1-2, R LaFrentz 1-3, T Allen 0-1, G Payton 1-1, R Davis 0-2, W Mccarty 0-2, J Welsch 0-1). Team Rebounds: 6. Blocked Shots:1 (G Payton). Turnovers:7 (R LaFrentz 2, R Davis 2, P Pierce 2, J Welsch). Steals: 6 (G Payton 2, R LaFrentz, R Davis, J Welsch, P Pierce). MINNESOTA (100) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp L Sprewell 30 5-10 0-0 1-2 6 3 10 K Garnett 40 9-18 3-3 3-13 7 1 21 M Olowokandi 32 8-16 5-5 1-9 0 4 21 T Hassell 20 4-6 1-3 1-4 0 4 9 S Cassell 31 5-14 0-0 1-6 9 4 10 W Szczerbiak 36 4-9 4-4 0-5 2 3 12 E Griffin 5 0-0 1-2 0-0 1 1 1 F Hoiberg 26 2-6 8-8 1-4 2 0 14 J Thomas 3 0-0 0-0 1-1 0 0 0 A Carter 3 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 T Hudson 14 1-2 0-0 0-0 2 1 2 E Johnson DNP - COACH'S DECISION _____________________________________________________ TOTALS 240 38-81 22-25 9-44 29 21 100 _____________________________________________________ Percentages: FG-.469, FT-.880. 3-Point Goals: 2-9, .222 (L Sprewell 0-1, S Cassell 0-3, F Hoiberg 2-4, T Hudson 0-1). Team Rebounds: 5. Blocked Shots:5 (K Garnett 2, T Hassell 2, M Olowokandi). Turnovers:10 (L Sprewell 3, W Szczerbiak 3, K Garnett 2, S Cassell, M Olowokandi). Steals: 0 (). -------------------------------------------- BOSTON 22 26 29 26 - 103 MINNESOTA 20 25 31 24 - 100 -------------------------------------------- Technical fouls: Boston - 1 (G Payton, 4:33 4th). Minnesota - 3 (Defensive Three, 4:27 1st; COACH Saunders, 2:22 2nd; W Szczerbiak, 4:33 4th). Flagrant fouls: None. A: 16,174. T: 2:18. Officials: Gary Zielinski, Greg Willard, Violet Palmer.


Extended Box

BOSTON (103) AT MINNESOTA (100) BOSTON REBOUNDS PLAYER POS MIN FGM-FGA FTM-FTA OFF-DEF-TOT AST PF ST TO PTS ====== === === ======= ======= =========== === == == == === P PIERCE F 35 8-16 15-16 0 3 3 2 2 1 2 32 R LAFRENTZ F 36 3-10 0-0 4 11 15 0 5 1 2 7 M BLOUNT C 30 3-7 2-2 2 3 5 3 3 0 0 8 T ALLEN G 18 1-5 1-2 0 3 3 0 0 0 0 3 G PAYTON G 36 10-18 1-2 2 2 4 7 0 2 0 22 R DAVIS 32 5-11 2-2 1 1 2 2 1 1 2 12 W MCCARTY 18 2-5 0-0 1 1 2 1 2 0 0 4 M BANKS 12 2-4 1-1 1 0 1 1 2 0 0 5 J WELSCH 11 1-4 0-0 0 0 0 3 3 1 1 2 K PERKINS 12 2-3 4-4 2 3 5 0 4 0 0 8 T GUGLIOTTA DNP - FLU D WEST DNP - COACH'S DECISION TOTALS 240 37-83 26-29 13 27 40 19 22 6 7 103 (.446) (.897) TEAM REBS: 6 TOTAL TO: 7 (4 PTS) MINNESOTA REBOUNDS PLAYER POS MIN FGM-FGA FTM-FTA OFF-DEF-TOT AST PF ST TO PTS ====== === === ======= ======= =========== === == == == === L SPREWELL F 30 5-10 0-0 1 1 2 6 3 0 3 10 K GARNETT F 40 9-18 3-3 3 10 13 7 1 0 2 21 M OLOWOKANDI C 32 8-16 5-5 1 8 9 0 4 0 1 21 T HASSELL G 20 4-6 1-3 1 3 4 0 4 0 0 9 S CASSELL G 31 5-14 0-0 1 5 6 9 4 0 1 10 W SZCZERBIAK 36 4-9 4-4 0 5 5 2 3 0 3 12 E GRIFFIN 5 0-0 1-2 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 1 F HOIBERG 26 2-6 8-8 1 3 4 2 0 0 0 14 J THOMAS 3 0-0 0-0 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 A CARTER 3 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 T HUDSON 14 1-2 0-0 0 0 0 2 1 0 0 2 E JOHNSON DNP - COACH'S DECISION TOTALS 240 38-81 22-25 9 35 44 29 21 0 10 100 (.469) (.880) TEAM REBS: 5 TOTAL TO: 10 (10 PTS) BOSTON 22 26 29 26 - 103 MINNESOTA 20 25 31 24 - 100 BLOCKED SHOTS: BOSTON - G PAYTON. MINNESOTA - K GARNETT 2, T HASSELL 2, M OLOWOKANDI. 3-PT. FIELD GOALS: BOSTON 3-12 (.250), P PIERCE 1-2, R LAFRENTZ 1- 3, T ALLEN 0-1, G PAYTON 1-1, R DAVIS 0-2, W MCCARTY 0-2, J WELSCH 0- 1. MINNESOTA 2-9 (.222), L SPREWELL 0-1, S CASSELL 0-3, F HOIBERG 2- 4, T HUDSON 0-1. TECHNICAL FOULS: BOSTON - G PAYTON. MINNESOTA - DEFENSIVE THREE, COACH SAUNDERS, W SZCZERBIAK. FLAGRANT FOULS: NONE. OFFICIALS: GARY ZIELINSKI, GREG WILLARD, VIOLET PALMER. A - 16,174. T - 2:18.


Game Story

MINNEAPOLIS (Ticker) -- Paul Pierce didn't miss his second chance at finishing off the Minnesota Timberwolves. Pierce scored 32 points, including two clutch free throws, as the Boston Celtics reached the .500 mark for the first time in over two months with a 103-100 victory over the Timberwolves. "We've been trying to climb up (to .500) for a while and now we have a chance to get over it," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. "It's been a struggle. It's been a climb, and now we have to protect that number." After missing a layup that would have given the Celtics a 103-98 lead with 58 seconds remaining, Pierce hit both free throws with 8.9 seconds left to give Boston a three-point advantage. "Coach just wanted me to be aggressive, get to the basket, get some of their guys in foul trouble," said Pierce, who converted 15-of-16 chances from the line. "I was able to do that, to pick my spots when I could get into the lane and give them some trouble." Free throws also proved crucial for Minnesota, which converted all 17 over the first three quarters but shot just 5-of-8 from the line in the final period. Trenton Hassell missed two with 2:30 remaining. Minnesota, trying to get Fred Hoiberg or Wally Szczerbiak open from the arc, had possession for the final eight seconds but only managed Sam Cassell's desperation 3-pointer, which fell well short just before time expired. "I came off a double screen and they switched out right in my face," Hoiberg said. "I tried to penetrate a little bit to try to get somebody to come over and help and then kicked it out to Sam. "Sam's a guy that can create his own shot pretty well and it looked like he might have got hit in the arm, but that's a tough call for an official to make at the end of a game like that. We had the ball in the guy's hands that's made a lot of clutch shots for us, but unfortunately he missed it." The Timberwolves lost their fifth straight game and joined the Celtics at 24-24, matching their loss total from all of last season. "You look at the two teams," Rivers said. "We're at .500 and ecstatic and the Timberwolves are at .500 and thinking the world is crumbling around them." Gary Payton recorded 22 points - 11 in each half - for the Celtics, who improved to .500 for the first time since they were 4-4 on November 21. Payton also supplied seven of Boston's 19 assists as the team won its fifth straight visit to the Target Center. Raef LaFrentz, who had averaged 20 points over the previous two games, managed just seven in this one but grabbed 15 rebounds, including four of Boston's 13 offensive boards. The Celtics, who missed 12 of their first 15 shots and were down by as many as nine points early, used a 10-0 run to take a 17-16 first-quarter lead. They led by as many as eight in the second and weathered a 22-13 Minnesota run to take a 48-45 lead into halftime. Marcus Banks' three-point play gave Boston an 86-79 lead with 9:19 remaining. His no-look pass 20 seconds later resulted in a two-handed slam by Kendrick Perkins that restored the seven-point edge. Hoiberg, who scored half of his 14 points in the fourth quarter, answered with a 3-pointer to trigger a 13-7 run that brought Minnesota to within 95-94 with 3:59 remaining. "The key to this game is that we defended and we grinded it out," Pierce said. "They made some runs in the fourth quarter, but we withstood their runs with key baskets. Gary Payton was huge tonight. Raef LaFrentz going after rebounds ... it was a total team effort." Michael Olowokandi, who had 14 points over Minnesota's previous six games combined, scored a season-high 21 to go with nine rebounds in this one despite playing under one minute in the fourth quarter. "The positives are that Michael played well," Minnesota coach Flip Saunders said. "It was tough to play him down the stretch. We went small." "I thought Michael played his best game here in two years," Hoiberg said. "He was active in getting rebounds, blocking shots, making aggressive post moves. We need that out of Michael if he could step up and play like that every night. That takes a lot of pressure off (Kevin Garnett) down there." Garnett also scored 21 points for the Timberwolves, who opened with an 8-0 run but fell back to the .500 mark for the first time since sitting at 17-17 last month. "Losing hard and losing at home ... it's hard to do in front of the people that love you," said Garnett, who also had seven assists. "But that's what you do it for. You work hard to support the ones that have got your back. "We're working our (rears) off trying to get back to where we know we can be."


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