NBA Game Summary - Boston at Utah
(Friday, February 25th)
Final Score: Boston 109, Utah 102
Salt Lake City, UT (Sports Network) - Antoine Walker began his second stint in a Boston uniform with a 24-point, 10-rebound performance as the Celtics earned a 109-102 victory over Utah at the Delta Center.
Ricky Davis scored 12 of his 17 points in the fourth quarter, while Delonte West had 16 along with a career-high seven rebounds in his first NBA start for the Celtics, who had lost their first two after the All-Star break. Paul Pierce contributed 15 points as Boston moved one game in front of Philadelphia atop the Atlantic Division.
Walker, who spent the first seven years of his career with the Celtics before being shipped to Dallas prior to the 2003-04 season, returned to his original team via a four-player trade with Atlanta on Thursday.
"Antoine was great," said Boston head coach Doc Rivers. "We had somewhere to go in the post, that was really nice. With Antoine being here watching us on the floor, not really knowing what we're going to do, we kept it extremely simple. Maybe that's the way we should play, because it was pretty good."
Andrei Kirilenko poured in a season-best 29 points and Matt Harpring finished with 18 points and eight rebounds for the Jazz, who have dropped four straight and nine of 11. Keith McLeod had 14 points in the loss.
Boston trailed by two points after three quarters but outscored the Jazz 14-2 over the first four minutes of the fourth. Back-to-back three-pointers from reserve Marcus Banks snapped an 80-80 tie and West capped the pivotal spurt with another trey which put the visitors up 92-82 with 8:15 to play.
The Celtics held a 103-95 lead with just over two minutes to play, but Utah reeled off the next seven points to draw within one. Two Kirilenko free throws followed by McLeod's three-pointer with 1:35 remaining cut the deficit to three, and McLeod drove the lane and scored with 36 seconds to go to bring the Jazz within 103-102.
Boston ran the clock down to 16 seconds and worked the ball inside to Mark Blount, who was fouled beneath the basket. He would sink both foul shots to make it a three-point game, and after Harpring was called for a charge with nine seconds on the clock, Davis made both free throws to seal the win.
"We did a good job tonight, for the most part," said Utah's Raja Bell. "We just let it slip away. Keith hit a big shot, we just found a way to lose it."
Consecutive baskets by Gordan Giricek and Curtis Borchardt to start the second quarter gave Utah a 31-26 lead, but the Celtics answered with a 10-2 run, with Al Jefferson recording the first six points, to move in front 36-33 with 7 1/2 minutes left in the half.
Boston held a slim 47-46 edge late in the second quarter before the Jazz ended the frame with a 9-2 spurt, highlighted by McLeod's three-pointer with 37 seconds left, to grab a 55-49 advantage at intermission.
The Celtics started out strong during the third quarter and knotted the score at 62-62 on Raef LaFrentz's dunk with eight minutes left in the frame. Walker, who delivered 14 third-quarter points, would put Boston up 65-64 with a three- point play 30 seconds later, but McLeod hit another triple to start an 11-3 run which gave Utah a 79-72 lead with 3:10 remaining in the frame.
West took over Boston's starting point guard after the club dealt Gary Payton to Atlanta in the Walker trade...Carlos Boozer, Utah's leading scorer and rebounder, sat out his third straight contest with a strained right foot...The Jazz dropped to 4-17 against the Eastern Conference...The Celtics completed a sweep of the season series. Boston downed Utah 114-106 at the Fleet Center on December 17.
02/26 00:32:27 ET