BOSTON, Jan. 20 (Ticker) -- Ricky Davis helped the Boston Celtics to a rare winning streak.

Davis scored 12 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter as the Celtics posted a 99-96 victory over the New Jersey Nets in the opener of a home-and-home series.

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Paul Pierce scored 25 points to lead the Celtics (16-23), who put together consecutive wins for just the second time this season. They will try for their first three-game winning streak Saturday when they visit the Nets. The Celtics' win came with some tense moments in the waning seconds.

A follow shot by Al Jefferson with 1:25 remaining gave the Celtics a 97-93 lead. But Jason Kidd hit an acrobatic 3-pointer with 38 seconds left and drew a foul from Pierce. However, he was unable to convert at the line, keeping the Celtics in front.

After Davis missed a jumper, the Nets had a chance to take the lead, getting the ball back with 12.3 seconds remaining.

Vince Carter got the ball at the top of the key, guarded by Pierce, drove to his right heading down the lane and lofted a running righthander over two defenders. The ball hit the back of the rim and the rebound was coralled by Davis.

"I was trying to get to the basket to win the game," said Carter, who made just 6-of-19 shots. "I had a good look. I felt like I gave myself a chance. I just missed it."

"I know what he's capable of," Pierce said. "I wanted to challenge him, stay in front of him, make it tough on him and make him finish over the top and that's what I was able to do."

Davis made two free throws with 3.1 seconds left, giving the Celtics a 99-96 lead.

Following a timeout, Carter's long 3-pointer clanged off the back of the rim as time expired.

"Almost made it," Jefferson, who finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds. "When it left his hand, I said, 'No.' Then halfway in the air I said, 'That's Vince Carter. He's known for that.'"

Kendrick Perkins scored 11 points and Delonte West added 10 for the Celtics, who led by as many as 13 points in the first half before settling for a 53-44 advantage at the break.

Kidd collected 24 points, seven rebounds and seven assists for New Jersey, which has dropped four of five on the road.

The Nets used a 12-2 run in the third quarter capped by Cliff Robinson's 3-pointer to take a 68-67 lead. But the Celtics regained a 77-74 advantage entering the final period.

"We played well defensively in the second half," Nets coach Lawrence Frank said. "We were able to force some turnovers (eight) and create some opportunities. We gave ourselves a chance to win tonight and we just couldn't get it done."

After the Nets took an 85-82 lead with 7:14 remaining on Richard Jefferson's follow shot, Davis drained consecutive jumpers to spark an 8-2 surge that put the Celtics back in front.

Boston won despite making just 20-of-34 free throws.