Celtics End 18-Game Losing Streak

Thursday, February 15th 2007, 5:48 am
By: News On 6

The Boston Celtics finally ended the longest losing streak in franchise history, beating a Milwaukee Bucks team that was struggling almost as badly as they were. The San Antonio Spurs finished an eight-game road trip with a win against Detroit that snapped the Pistons' seven-game winning streak.

Paul Pierce scored 32 points, Gerald Green had 21, and the Celtics beat the Bucks 117-97 Wednesday night to snap an 18-game slide and get their first win since Jan. 5.

Boston, which broke its previous franchise record of 13 straight losses, was closing on the NBA's record of 24 _ including 23 in one season. However, the Celtics rallied from a 15-point deficit to go ahead in the second quarter and then opened a double-digit lead in the third.

``We could have easily ended up in that zone with NBA-record losing streaks,'' Pierce said. ``We definitely eyed this game. Milwaukee had a lot of pieces missing, so we wanted to take advantage of that.''

The Bucks lost their fourth straight and dropped to 3-17 since Michael Redd went out with a strained patellar tendon in his left knee. Also, Charlie Villaneuva was out with an ankle sprain he picked up the previous night; Mo Williams' was slowed by a shoulder injury; and Earl Boykins picked up a cut on his right leg that needed stitches in the first half.

Tim Duncan scored 23 points and Francisco Elson added 12 points and a career-high 18 rebounds as the Spurs beat the Pistons 90-81 to finish a 4-4 road trip and get their first win at the Palace of Auburn Hills since Game 5 of the 2005 NBA finals.

``We've been inconsistent all year, so it was nice to see us put together 48 good minutes,'' Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. ``That's one of our best games all year, and it is the finest game Francisco has played for this team.''

In the other NBA games Wednesday night, it was: Indiana 114, Memphis 104; Orlando 103, Portland 91; Toronto 120, New Jersey 109; Charlotte 100, Chicago 85; Washington 92, Philadelphia 85; Minnesota 99, Denver 94; New Orleans 110, Sacramento 93; Utah 99, Cleveland 98; Seattle 114, Phoenix 90; Golden State 120, New York 101; and Atlanta 96, the Los Angeles Clippers 93.

Williams scored 31 points, Charlie Bell had 24 and Brian Skinner scored 13 with 11 rebounds for the Bucks.

``Everybody knows'' about the Celtics' streak, Williams said. ``You don't want to be the team that they beat. That's why it hurts a little more.''

Al Jefferson had 17 points and 10 rebounds, and Wally Szczerbiak, back after missing two games with a sprained right ankle, had 14 points.

After the break, Boston embarks on a five-game road trip, four against teams in playoff position.

``I thought that if we could win this game, it gives us a fighting chance out there. That's all we want,'' coach Doc Rivers said. ``The guys are in there taking monkeys off each others' backs and all that stuff. It's just a relief to get it done.''

Manu Ginobili scored 20 points for the Spurs, while Tony Parker had 16. San Antonio's reserves outscored Detroit's 35-13.

``It wasn't tough at all to get up for this one,'' Duncan said. ``We aren't playing well, and we really needed to put together a good game before the break.''

The Pistons were playing their fifth straight game at home, but struggled at both ends of the floor in their first loss of the month.

``It's always tough to play the last game before the break,'' Chauncey Billups said. ``They came in hungry, because they've been struggling a bit. By the time we started fighting, it was an uphill battle.''

Richard Hamilton led the Pistons with 20 points while Billups scored 19, including 16 in the second half.

Wizards 92, 76ers 85

Gilbert Arenas finished with 22 points on 8-for-26 shooting, and visiting Washington won for just second time in six games.

Kyle Korver led Philadelphia with 18 points, Andre Iguodala added 14 points and 13 rebounds, and Samuel Dalembert had 17 rebounds and 11 points.

Raptors 120, Nets 109

Chris Bosh had 25 points, nine rebounds and six assists, and Toronto won its eighth straight at home and stretched its Atlantic Division lead to 4 1/2 games over New Jersey.

Bostjan Nachbar had a career-high 26 points and former Raptor Vince Carter had 17 points and 10 assists for the Nets. Jason Kidd was out with a back injury.

Pacers 114, Grizzlies 104

Jermaine O'Neal scored 23 points, Danny Granger added 21 and host Indiana overcame a poor start.

Rookie Rudy Gay had a career-high 31 points for Memphis, including 12 in the third quarter.

Bobcats 100, Bulls 85

Gerald Wallace scored 32 points, Emeka Okafor added 15 points and 21 rebounds and Charlotte snapped a four-game losing streak.

Ben Gordon scored 20 points and Luol Deng added 19 points and nine rebounds for visiting Chicago.

Magic 103, Trail Blazers 91

Hedo Turkoglu scored 24 points, and Dwight Howard had 20 points and 16 rebounds to move host Orlando one game over .500.

Zach Randolph had 28 points and 10 rebounds for Portland.

Timberwolves 99, Nuggets 94

At Minneapolis, Mark Blount scored 24 points, including eight in a row in the final 2:30, as Minnesota won for the third time in four games.

Carmelo Anthony had 28 points, five rebounds and five assists, and Steve Blake added a career-high 18 assists for Denver.

Hornets 110, Kings 93

At Oklahoma City, Desmond Mason scored 18 points and David West had 16 for New Orleans.

Ron Artest scored 18 points on 4-for-15 shooting from the field, and Corliss Williamson added 15 points to lead Sacramento.

Jazz 99, Cavaliers 98

Deron Williams had a career-high 33 points and 12 assists to help host Utah to its sixth straight win.

LeBron James finished with 23 points _ just four in the fourth quarter _ and Larry Hughes had 33 for Cleveland. The Cavs had a final chance, but Sasha Pavlovic's heave was just off at the buzzer.

SuperSonics 114, Suns 90

Ray Allen scored 15 of his 31 points in the third quarter, and Seattle handed visiting Phoenix its worst loss of the season. Nick Collison added 22 points and 15 rebounds for the Sonics.

Amare Stoudemire had 19 points and 13 rebounds for Phoenix, which was again without reigning two-time MVP Steve Nash and starter Boris Diaw.

Warriors 120, Knicks 101

Stephen Jackson scored 21 of his season high-tying 36 points in the first half, and host Golden State blew most of a 31-point lead before holding off New York.

Nate Robinson scored 21 of his season-high 23 points in the second half for the Knicks.

Hawks 96, Clippers 93

Joe Johnson, selected for his first NBA All-Star game earlier in the day, scored six of his 27 points in the final 19 seconds to rally visiting Atlanta. Josh Smith added 19 points and 11 rebounds, and Zaza Pachulia had 15 points and 12 rebounds for the Hawks.

Cuttino Mobley had a season-high 31 points for the Clippers, and Chris Kaman had 20 points, 13 rebounds and blocked six shots.