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Davis' absence hinders Hornets

©Associated Press

December 2, 2002

BOSTON -- New Orleans is not used to playing without Baron Davis, and it showed.

Paul Pierce scored 30 and Antoine Walker added 26 Sunday in the Celtics' 95-86 victory over the Hornets, who were without their All-Star guard for the first time in four seasons.

Davis, the team's second-leading scorer, sat out because of back pain, ending his consecutive games streak at 248. Without him, New Orleans had 24 turnovers and allowed 10 steals.

"Normally they are a low turnover team, but with Baron Davis out we felt like we could put more pressure on them," Pierce said.

It was the first time Davis has missed a game in his career. He was replaced by Courtney Alexander.

The loss was the second in a row for New Orleans. The Hornets are 2-6 on the road and 9-0 at home.

"Any time you can get a win against somebody that's ahead of you in the standings, it's a good win," coach Jim O'Brien said.

The Celtics were 22-of-31 from the free-throw line and hit 9 of 28 3-pointers.

P.J. Brown had 14 rebounds as New Orleans outrebounded Boston 43-37. Jamal Mashburn paced the Hornets with 33 points, and David Wesley scored 18.

The Celtics took an 80-69 lead on Pierce's dunk with 8:24 left. A 10-2 Boston run featuring 3s by Walker and Shammond Williams gave the Celtics their biggest lead, 92-78, with 1:30 left.

The Celtics held a double-digit lead twice early in the fourth, but Mashburn's jump shot cut it to 82-76 with 6:50 left.

On the ensuing possession, Walker's 3-pointer as he was falling to the floor out of bounds triggered a 7-2 Celtics spurt.

"I wouldn't say it was a knockout punch, but it had a significant impact on us," Mashburn said.

The Hornets went without a field goal for four minutes late in the fourth.

* * *

PACERS 92, CLIPPERS 87: Reggie Miller finds it difficult to pace himself. In his fourth game back from a bone bruise on his right ankle, Miller scored 13 of his 20 in the final 4:51 to lead the visiting Pacers.

Talking about being about being more of a role player than the go-to guy now, the 37-year-old said his ailing ankle is a factor.

"Now it's probably going to be worse because I'm playing more minutes," said Miller, who played 34 minutes against the Clippers. "I thought I was going to come back and play 20-25 minutes and call it a day, win or lose.

"But once you get out there and start to sweat a little bit, I think there's a sense of urgency that we can actually win the game. Then I just say, 'Forget about my ankle; I'll worry about it later.' "

Miller was 7-for-14 from the floor and made two of seven 3-pointers. He made a 14-foot jumper to put Indiana up by a point with 1:17 left, added a 22-footer 16 seconds later, then made two free throws for a 90-87 lead with 10.4 seconds left.

After the Clippers' Quentin Richardson missed a running 3-pointer, Ron Mercer was fouled and made two free throws. Elton Brand led the Clippers, losers of eight of their past 11, with 20 points and 12 rebounds, and rookie Marko Jaric scored 25.

The Clippers, already missing Lamar Odom and Corey Maggette, placed center Michael Olowokandi (sore knee) on the injured list before the game. Guard Andre Miller also was out, resting an ankle sprain.

RAPTORS 92, GRIZZLIES 87: Alvin Williams scored 20, including four in the final 40 seconds, and had eight assists for visiting Toronto. Williams' basket with 38.3 seconds left gave the Raptors an 88-87 lead. He added two free throws with 15.5 seconds left as Toronto outscored Memphis 8-0 down the stretch.

Vince Carter, who sealed it with a breakaway dunk, led Toronto with 27 points. Shane Battier led the Grizzlies with 14 points and eight rebounds.

The Raptors, who got Carter back three games ago from a strained quadriceps, dressed only nine players.

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