|Celtics set for showdown with Pistons, who have won 11 straight games|
|Written by Admin|
|Saturday, 05 January 2008 00:31|
And it almost cost them Friday night.
The Celtics won anyway, setting up a showdown of surging teams Saturday in Detroit, where the Pistons will try for their 12th straight victory.
Reserve Tony Allen filled in when Ray Allen struggled, scoring a season-high 20 points to help Boston beat the Memphis Grizzlies 100-96 for its eighth straight victory.
``Probably our worst focus of the year. Could be because of tomorrow night,'' coach Doc Rivers said. ``We might have been looking forward to it. I don't know.''
Many people are after Detroit beat Boston 87-85 on Dec. 19. The Celtics are 16-1 at home and 28-3 overall, while the Pistons improved to 26-7 with their 101-85 victory in Toronto on Friday.
``Boston's record speaks for itself,'' Pistons forward Tayshaun Prince said. ``They're a great defensive ballclub. They can clog up the paint and really keep you away from the basket. It'll be a good test for us once again.''
In other games, it was: Houston 96, Orlando 94; Indiana 113, Atlanta 91; Cleveland 97, Sacramento 93; New Jersey 102, Charlotte 96; Denver 118, Minnesota 107; San Antonio 97, New York 93; Washington 101, Milwaukee 77; Dallas 94, Miami 89; the Los Angeles Lakers 124, Philadelphia 93; and New Orleans 116, Golden State 104.
Richard Hamilton scored 22 points and Rasheed Wallace added 20 for Detroit, which has not lost since an 80-77 defeat at Houston on Dec. 12 and owns the longest current run in the NBA.
``We're definitely satisfied with how we're playing right now,'' said Chauncey Billups, who scored 18 points. ``Who wouldn't be? Eleven straight games, that's an amazing feat in this league.''
The Celtics weren't as impressed after their victory. Ray Allen went 0-for-9 from the floor, but sank a pair of free throws with 9.3 seconds left to avoid his first scoreless appearance in a decade.
Paul Pierce had 23 points and 10 rebounds, and Kevin Garnett also had 23 points.
``Everybody knew we're playing Detroit on Saturday night, but we had to take care of Memphis,'' Pierce said. ``We're preparing for something bigger than the regular season. It's got to be every night.''
Rudy Gay made just one of his first eight shots but finished with 21 points for Memphis. Juan Carlos Navarro scored 20 and Mike Miller had 16.
``I thought the whole game was a missed opportunity,'' coach Marc Iavaroni said. ``I thought we were in perfect position to come in here and have a shot at it, and I think we did until we made some miscues. And that's the way they've won this year.''
Rockets 96, Magic 94
Rafer Alston scored 20 points, including the game-winning layup with 4 seconds left, and Houston narrowly escaped Orlando with a victory when officials ruled Adonal Foyle's tip-in came after the buzzer.
Yao Ming got the better of Dwight Howard in a matchup of the probable NBA All-Star starting centers, scoring 26 points and grabbing 10 rebounds to Howard's 16 points and eight rebounds.
Mavericks 94, Heat 89
Dirk Nowitzki had 24 points and 10 rebounds, and Josh Howard scored 11 of his 18 points in the final period as host Dallas overcame a Miami team missing Dwyane Wade and Shaquille O'Neal.
Ricky Davis had 17 points, seven assists and six rebounds. Mark Blount, who started in place of O'Neal, scored a season-high 17 points.
Hornets 116, Warriors 104
Tyson Chandler had a season-high 22 points and matched a season best with 22 rebounds to lead New Orleans to its fifth straight road win.
Chris Paul scored 11 of his 24 points in the fourth quarter and added 13 assists to help the Hornets extend their longest road winning streak since also winning five straight in 2003.
Baron Davis scored 26 points, Al Harrington had 24 and Andris Biedrins added 20 on 10-for-11 shooting for the Warriors, who lost consecutive games for the first time since opening the season 0-6.
Lakers 124, 76ers 93
Andrew Bynum dominated inside with 17 points and a career-high 16 rebounds, and Los Angeles shot 66 percent from the field.
Derek Fisher added 17 points for the hosts, and Ronny Turiaf, starting because Lamar Odom was serving a one-game suspension, had 15 points and five blocked shots. Kobe Bryant, content to let his teammates do the scoring, took only nine shots and scored 15 points.
Nets 102, Bobcats 96
Vince Carter scored 30 points and New Jersey won a season-high fourth straight game and handed Charlotte its 11th consecutive road loss.
An under-the-weather Richard Jefferson added 28 points and Jason Kidd had 11 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds for his eighth triple-double of the season as the Nets won for the sixth time in seven games.
Jason Richardson scored 33 points for Charlotte before fouling out with 1:17 to play. Gerald Wallace added 25 for the Bobcats, who have not won on the road since beating Miami in their first away game this season.
Cavaliers 97, Kings 93
LeBron James scored 24 points and Daniel Gibson hit a 3-pointer with 12 seconds left as Cleveland avoided embarrassment by beating short-handed Sacramento.
John Salmons scored 22 points for the visiting Kings.
Pacers 113, Hawks 91
Danny Granger tied a career high with 32 points, and host Indiana snapped a five-game losing streak.
Josh Childress tied a career high with 26 points and Josh Smith added 20 for the Hawks, who have lost three straight.
Spurs 97, Knicks 93
Defensive specialist Bruce Bowen showed off his offense, scoring 15 points to help San Antonio overcome poor shooting nights from Tim Duncan and Tony Parker.
The Knicks, who have lost six in a row and fell to 1-12 on the road, were led by Eddy Curry with 25 points and 12 rebounds. New York was without Zach Randolph, who was suspended one game for throwing his headband at a referee this week.
Nuggets 118, Timberwolves 107
Allen Iverson scored 33 points, Carmelo Anthony added 26 and Denver led 12-0 before the game was three minutes old in Minneapolis.
Minnesota (4-28) has lost a season-worst seven straight. Reserve Rashad McCants led the Timberwolves with a career-high 34 points, and Al Jefferson had 24 points and 15 rebounds.
Wizards 101, Bucks 77
Antawn Jamison scored 24 points and Washington shot 55 percent from the field against a Milwaukee team missing leading scorer Michael Redd.
Caron Butler, who broke his right hand the last time he played in Milwaukee on April 1, had a much better homecoming to Wisconsin with 13 points, seven rebounds and seven assists.