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Celtics Top Raptors, Win Fifth Straight

Associated Press
Thursday, March 17, 2005; Page D06

Paul Pierce and Antoine Walker each scored 24 points, and the Celtics nearly blew a 16-point fourth-quarter lead before pulling out a 110-109 win over the Toronto Raptors last night in Boston.

The win was the fifth straight for the Atlantic Division-leading Celtics and their ninth in 10 games since acquiring Walker from Atlanta on Feb. 24.

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Tony Allen finished with 16 points for Boston, including a pair of big baskets in the final 1 minute 46 seconds. Ricky Davis had 14.

Jalen Rose led the Raptors with a season-high 35 points and Chris Bosh had 20 before leaving with a bruised lower back early in the final quarter.

Rose scored seven straight points, giving the Raptors a 107-106 lead on a driving shot over Pierce with 2:03 to play. Allen broke free inside for a jam, but Toronto regained the lead on Rafer Alston's jumper with 1:30 to go.

Allen's drive made it 110-109 14 seconds later.

After Pierce missed a jumper in the closing seconds, the Raptors came down for the final shot without calling time out. Milt Palacio's drive bounced off the backboard, and the buzzer sounded.

ROCKETS 108, TRAIL BLAZERS 77: David Wesley and Bob Sura scored 21 points each to lead host Houston to its sixth straight win.

Houston, which had its largest margin of victory this season, took the lead midway through the first quarter with a 10-2 run, and Portland never threatened again.

It was the Rockets' first game back home after sweeping a four-game road trip over some of the best teams in the West, including Phoenix and Seattle.

Tracy McGrady added 19 points and six assists and Yao Ming had 13 points and seven rebounds.

Wesley, who was 2 of 3 from three-point range, has scored 20 points in three of the last four games.

NETS 100, BULLS 84: Vince Carter scored 30 points and Jason Kidd set the tone as host New Jersey took control early and completed a season sweep of Chicago.

Kidd had 22 points, 11 rebounds and 8 assists as the Nets posted their seventh straight win over the Bulls. Jason Collins had 14 points and 11 rebounds and Nenad Krstic added 11 points.

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