Thursday, January 31, 2008

Celts pull away in the last minute

BOSTON – The first tussle against the NBA’s pacesetter lost some luster when Kevin Garnett couldn’t give it a go. The Celtics, though, aren’t just about one guy, as the Mavericks witnessed Thursday night.

The other two members of the Boston Three Party – Paul Pierce and Ray Allen – each scored 26 and the Celtics separated in the final seconds to nip Dallas 96-90 before a capacity crowd at TD Banknorth Garden.

The Mavs (31-14) had their four-game winning streak snapped in the first of three straight games against Eastern Conference division leaders. The trip picks up after a two-day break Sunday at Detroit.

The loss also means the Hornets’ Bryon Scott will coach the Western Conference All-Star team. Though the Mavs can still tie New Orleans for the conference’s best record, Scott enjoys the tiebreaker since Avery Johnson coached an All-Star Game more recently.

On the night All-Star reserves were named, each team felt it was a representative short. So it was fitting the two snubbed – Josh Howard and Allen – were in All-Star form early. Dirk Nowitzki did make the West team, while Pierce picked up an East nod.

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