Pierce, Celtics Clip Cavs

Workers building the Seattle Art Museum's Olympic Sculpture Park work Thursday, March 9, 2006 in Seattle. Hiring gained ground in February with employers adding 243,000 jobs, the most in three months. Brighter job prospects sent people streaming into the labor force, however, pushing the unemployment rate up marginally to 4.8 percent. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

The Cleveland Cavaliers wish Paul Pierce had called in sick.

Battling strep throat, Pierce scored 23 of his 30 points in the second half as the Boston Celtics rallied to beat the Cavaliers 114-103 Wednesday night.

"Monday morning, my throat was hurting and I was feeling kind of weak," said Pierce, who also had 11 rebounds and four assists. "I relaxed and stayed off my feet and felt a lot better. I practiced well on Tuesday and told the coach I was ready to go."

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Game Summary

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  • The Celtics trailed by 15 points in the first half and seven at the end of the third quarter, but outscored the Cavaliers 38-20 in the fourth quarter. Pierce's 3-pointer with 9:39 remaining gave the Celtics a 85-84 lead, their first lead since 2-0.

    "We came out in the second half and allowed them to get right back into it," Cavaliers coach Randy Wittman said. "We were standing around, not going to the boards, and they had guys tipping it in. We allowed easy baskets."

    All five starters scored in double figures for the Celtics. Adrian Griffin scored a career-high 23 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. Kenny Anderson added 21 points, Antoine Walker 11 and Vitaly Potapenko 12 for Boston.

    "This is one of my favorite victories as the Celtics coach because we really did not play well," Rick Pitino said. "Last year at this time, we would have lost this game by 25 or 30."

    "Our press gave us a big lift in the second half and we executed some outstanding passes in the second half. We had to come and play with great tenacity in the second half and we did."

    The Celtics used a -2 run early in the second half to cut the Cavaliers lead to 59-56. Pierce scored six during the run while Walker, who shot only 5-for-17, hit a 3-pointer.

    The Cavaliers built their lead to 83-76 at the end of the third quarter.

    Shawn Kemp scored 27 points and had eight rebounds to lead Cleveland. Bob Sura had 14 points, Andre Miller added 13 and Danny Ferry 10 for the Cavaliers.

    "At the start of the game, we played hard and executed well," Sura said. "In the third quarter, we came out sluggish and had stretches where we seemed to coast. Unfortunately, tonight it caught up with us."

    Sura scored seven points during a 13-0 run in the first quarter that helped Cleveland take a 21-6 lead.

    Kemp scored 16 first-half points as the Cavaliers took a 57-47 lead at the break.

    Notes

  • The Celtics were 2-2 against the Cavaliers last year, winning both games at the Fleet Center.
  • Pierce has 21 straight double-doubles dating back to last season.
  • Celtics G-F Calbert Cheaney missed his fourth consecutive game with a sprained right ankle.
  • The Cavaliers have scored 100 or more points in five straight games.

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