Celtics Hang On for First Road Victory
Boston 102, New York 99
NEW YORK, Dec. 4 (Ticker) -- Paul Pierce halted the Boston Celtics' road woes against an old foe.
Pierce scored 28 points and had seven assists as the Celtics held off the New York Knicks 102-99 to capture their first road win of the season.
In the first of a five-game, seven-day road trip that features two sets of back-to-back games, the Celtics beat the Knicks for the sixth time in seven games and second time this season. With the win, they avoided opening a season with five straight road defeats since dropping their first 12 en route to a 15-67 finish in 1996-97.
"It feels good, especially with our first long road trip, especially with a lot of guys who haven't been on a road trip this long," said Pierce, who made 8-of-15 shots and 11-of-15 free throws. "So it was good to start it off right, knowing that each and every game is going to get tougher on the road."
"It's a great thing when you start the road trip off with a win like that," Boston guard Ricky Davis added. "We've been struggling on the road, so it's a great win for us."
After a sluggish second quarter, Boston got a big lift from Brian Scalabrine's 3-pointer with seven seconds to go in the first half that put it in front 46-45. It opened the third with a 17-6 run, which featured nine points from point guard Delonte West.
"We came out with a play in the beginning of the third quarter and we stayed with that play and Delonte executed it perfect," Boston coach Doc Rivers said. "I thought that was terrific.
"For a team to run a play that we had never run to start the third and just stay with it through the first eight minutes and then get a couple more points out of it in the fourth quarter - that is a sign of maturing."
West hit his only 3-pointer for a 64-51 advantage with 7:19 left in the third period. The second-year guard scored 11 of his 17 points in the period, including a baseline jam for a 68-55 edge with 5:24 to play.
Knicks guard Jamal Crawford, who was defending on the play, had to leave when he hit his chin on the head of Stephon Marbury. He took 11 stitches and did not return until the closing minute of the game, finishing with just two points on 1-of-5 shooting.
"I really don't know (what happened)," Marbury said. "I know I went baseline to help and I ended up on the floor."
Marbury, who scored a season-high 35 points, brought back the Knicks, pulling them within 89-87 on a driving layup with 3:26 to play.
After Raef LaFrentz hit a pair of free throws, Pierce intercepted Trevor Ariza's pass and converted a three-point play for a 94-87 advantage with 2:51 to play. On Boston's next possession, he found Al Jefferson for a layup with 2:19 left.
Marbury, who made 17-of-21 free throws, sank two from the line to make it 100-99 with 8.9 seconds left. Ricky Davis answered with two from the stripe.
Knicks rookie guard Nate Robinson had a chance to tie it, but his 3-pointer bounced off the back of the rim. Robinson beat Philadelphia eight days ago with a 3-pointer at the buzzer.
"Some fall and some don't," Robinson said. "It wasn't like the play we scripted. We were just trying to get a shot off."
"It was a miracle, us getting back in the game," Knicks coach Larry Brown said. "We had a chance."
Davis scored 27 points for Boston, which also has a five-game road trip from December 26-January 2 and plays 14 of its next 21 away from home.
"Mentally, guys got to understand, the longer the road trip, the tougher guys got to be," Pierce said. "I'm glad we got off on the right foot and hopefully it can continue."
"That was a great win for us, obviously because we needed a road win," Rivers said. "It was our first win going on a long road trip. We couldn't have asked for a better one."
Rookie forward Channing Frye scored a season-high 25 points and Quentin Richardson added nine and 13 rebounds for the Knicks, who had a three-game home winning streak snapped.