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NBA Game Summary - Boston at New Orleans

(Wednesday, February 11th)

Final Score: Boston 89, New Orleans 77

New Orleans, LA (Sports Network) - Paul Pierce had a game-high 30 points for the Boston Celtics in an 89-77 win over New Orleans, which continued to struggle even with the return of star guard Chris Paul.

Kevin Garnett added 14 points and 10 rebounds for the Celtics, who have one final contest -- in Dallas on Thursday -- before reaching the All-Star break. Eddie House and Leon Powe added 12 and 11 points, respectively, off the bench for Boston, which has won two of three.

Despite the win, the Celtics saw guard Ray Allen sprain his thumb, though X- rays came back negative. Allen said he would try to play against the Mavericks.

"Early in the game I was underneath, I think it was (Kendrick) Perkins. My hand got caught in his jersey," Allen said of his injury. "I popped off and I caught the ball and then I couldn't even catch the ball (later) because it kind of jammed all of the way down. As I was running I was trying to yank on it. I tried to hold it in as the game went on. When I tried to catch the ball, I couldn't hold on to the ball."

Meanwhile, New Orleans got Paul back after he missed the last four games because of a groin injury. He entered Wednesday's contest averaging team highs of 21.5 points and 10.9 assists, but had just 13 points and five assists in the loss.

David West had 15 points and eight boards for the Hornets, who have lost two in a row and six of eight. New Orleans enters the All-Star break at 30-20, in fourth place in the Southwest Division, 4 1/2 games behind San Antonio.

"We lost the game in the last two minutes of the third, and the first four or five minutes of the fourth quarter," West said. "We were in the game. I don't think either team was shooting the ball particularly well. That stretch in the fourth quarter killed us. They took the momentum from us, and we weren't able to get back in the game."

In a tight game, New Orleans pulled within 71-67 on a Devin Brown basket 2 1/2 minutes into the fourth quarter. But Boston gained some separation with an eight-point burst, during which House had five points. His jumper closed the run with 7 1/2 minutes left in the game to give the Celtics a 79-67 lead.

About one minute later, the Hornets got back within single digits when West had a free throw and Rasual Butler followed with a three-pointer. But after a few missed shots by each team, Powe threw down a dunk and Garnett sank a jumper. The shots extended Boston's lead to 85-73, and the Celtics held on for the final 4 1/2 minutes for the win.

Pierce carried the Celtics in the first quarter, as he scored 15 points, including back-to-back buckets to put Boston ahead 17-10 with just under five minutes left. The Celtics continued to hold a lead of about seven points, but the Hornets closed the quarter with five consecutive points to get within 23-21.

New Orleans edged in front at halftime, 44-42, and it was a 64-64 game after three quarters.

Game Notes

The teams were a combined 4-for-25 from three-point range...Boston swept the two-game season series, having won, 94-82, at home on December 12...Rajon Rondo added six points, 11 assists and eight boards for the Celtics...Hilton Armstrong had 14 points for the Hornets.

02/12 01:11:56 ET

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