PHILADELPHIA, March 4 (Ticker)
-- The Philadelphia 76ers had all eyes on Paul Pierce
and Antoine Walker
but lost sight of Walter McCarty
McCarty scored just eight points but made two clutch baskets in the final 2 1/2 minutes as the Boston Celtics snapped a four-game losing streak and an eight-game slide against the 76ers with a 100-94 victory.
NBATV highlights from Celtics-Sixers:
One of the newest Celtics, Tony Delk scored 12 points off the bench.|
Jesse Garrabrant/NBAE/Getty Images
The Celtics often are seen as two-man team, relying on the potent scoring of Walker and Pierce to carry the team. The Sixers focused on shutting down the duo in a close game down the stretch but seemed to lose track of Boston's other weapons.
Philadelphia never led in the fourth quarter but pulled within 87-86 on a runner by Eric Snow
with 4:34 left. Boston's Rodney Rogers
responded with a three-point play and Pierce made 1-of-2 free throws before Snow completed a three-point play to being the Sixers with 91-89 at 2:59.
McCarty doubled the Celtics lead with a layup off a pass from Tony Delk
Pierce missed a fadeaway on Boston's next possession, but McCarty grabbed the offensive rebound and scored for a six-point edge with 1:57 remaining.
"The shot clock is running down and McCarty makes a great play," Sixers coach Larry Brown said. "Then he gets a big offensive rebound. You look at the last six or seven minutes, they got some huge rebounds." Allen Iverson
misfired on a 3-pointer and the Celtics sealed the victory from the line as Pierce sank three free throws and Walker added a pair in the final 90 seconds.
"It's always how you finish," Pierce said. "It's a big win when playing the Eastern Conference champions in their building. A win can usually give you your edge back."
Pierce scored 28 points and Walker added 17 and seven rebounds as Boston defeated Philadelphia for the first time since March 12, 2000 and ended a four-game losing streak at the First Union Center.
"It was a good win for us," Celtics coach Jim O'Brien said. "We played with a lot of intensity. It's a credit to our players that they could come into an arena like this and win against a hot basketball team. We have to beat some good teams on the road."
Rogers finished with 15 points off the bench and Delk collected 12 and seven assists for the Celtics, who shot just 40 percent (33-of-82) but made 28-of-32 free throws and committed only eight turnovers.
Iverson recorded 28 points, seven rebounds and six assists as the Sixers had a three-game winning streak snapped.
"We gave it the effort, we just couldn't pull it off," Iverson said. "Things wouldn't go right for us tonight. When we needed key stops, they scored. When we needed baskets, we couldn't score. We had the lead and we just couldn't keep it. We've been having problems keeping leads this year."
Snow had 16 points and eight assists and Derrick Coleman
added 16 points and 11 rebounds for Philadelphia, which lost despite a 47-35 rebounding advantage.
The Sixers also shot 40 percent (32-of-80) from the floor and committed 16 points leading to 17 points for the Celtics.
"I don't think our shot selection was great, give them credit," Brown said. "You shoot so poorly and you don't have a lot of options."
Boston trailed, 34-33, with 5:17 left in the first half before going on a 13-5 run. Pierce scored six points during the spurt and the Celtics carried a 48-41 lead into halftime.
Boston opened its largest lead, 52-43, less than two minutes into the third quarter, but Philadelphia responded by scoring 22 of the next 28 points.
Iverson had the first 10 points during the stretch and assisted on baskets by Snow and Matt Harpring
, who scored six points in the run. Dikembe Mutombo
capped it with a layup to give the Sixers their biggest lead, 65-56, with 3:33 left in the third.
"We don't worry about losing leads," Walker said. "We don't want to bury ourselves. We want to give ourselves a good chance. We just kept fighting and kept attacking the basket. Rodney made some plays and we turned the momentum a little."
Rogers converted a three-point play to start a 13-3 burst. Pierce capped the run with a layup to put the Celtics ahead for good, 69-68 with 35 seconds left in the third period.