The Boston Celtics said goodbye to their parquet floor at halftime last night and retired the Atlanta Hawks even before that, getting 24 points from Antoine Walker in a 98-81 win in Boston that snapped a six-game losing streak.
The Celtics led by 14 points after one quarter, 18 after two, 24 after three and 87-59 early in the fourth before the Hawks scored eight consecutive points. Jamel Thomas completed a three-point play and Kenny Anderson added a layup to squelch the charge.
The 81 points was the Hawks' lowest output this season; the loss was their fourth in a row, tying their longest skid of the year.
The game marked the finale for the famous parquet floor that has supported the Celtics since 1946. A new floor built to resemble the old will be unveiled for Boston's Jan. 3 game against Cleveland.
Anderson had 13 points and 10 assists and Adrian Griffin added 10 rebounds for Boston, which had not won since Paul Pierce was injured Dec. 12.
LaPhonso Ellis, who had spent the entire season on the injured list with a strained left calf, scored 13 points, as did Bimbo Coles. Isaiah Rider and Jim Jackson combined to make just 8 of 27 shots.
Former Celtics Bill Russell, John Havlicek, Bob Cousy, Tommy Heinsohn and K.C. Jones each told the crowd of his favorite memory in a halftime ceremony called "Parquet Memories."
"This floor was a part of all that. It watched over the greatest sports team dynasty that ever was, and probably that ever will be," Cousy said. "It probably has had more Hall of Famers trod on its boards than any floor in captivity."
MAGIC 103, CAVALIERS 97: Rookie Chucky Atkins scored 22 points to lead visiting Orlando past Cleveland.
Atkins scored six points down the stretch as Orlando took advantage of an injury-depleted and turnover-plagued Cavaliers team to earn its fourth straight win.
Cleveland, with only nine healthy players, battled throughout but committed 10 turnovers in the first 9 minutes 19 seconds of the fourth quarter and lost its fifth in a row.
Atkins tied the score at 89 with a layup and after Cleveland turned the ball over on a traveling call, Pat Garrity put the Magic ahead to stay with a layup with 4:42 to play.
KNICKS 91, RAPTORS 90: Patrick Ewing hit a turnaround 14-footer with 21.3 seconds left at home and New York, despite blowing another big fourth-quarter lead, overcame Vince Carter and Toronto.
It was the biggest shot of the season for Ewing, who was playing in just his seventh game since recovering from a partially torn Achilles' tendon. He finished with eight points--just the 36th single-digit scoring night of his 984-game career--and eight rebounds to support a 25-point effort from Latrell Sprewell.
Carter scored a crowd-pleasing 36 points, the highest total by a Knicks opponent this season, and the Raptors had a chance to win after Sprewell missed two free throws with 2.9 seconds left.
But out of timeouts, the Raptors could only get a shot off from midcourt--a heave by Doug Christie that barely missed.
HEAT 74, JAZZ 72: Alonzo Mourning had 17 points, 10 rebounds and 5 blocked shots--including one with 13 seconds remaining--to lead host Miami over Utah.
Mourning blocked Bryon Russell's late drive to basket, giving the Heat its second win in five games and ending Utah's eight-game winning streak in Miami.
Utah lost for the third time in the last four games as it wrapped up a seven-game road trip.
TIMBERWOLVES 106, BULLS 86: With a welcome home like this, Kevin Garnett might want to visit Chicago more often.
Garnett provided the muscle inside and Malik Sealy and Terrell Brandon hit just about everything outside as Minnesota routed Chicago.
It was the third win in a row for the Timberwolves. Garnett, who played at Chicago's Farragut Academy, led five Timberwolves in double figures with 22 points. He also had 13 rebounds.
CLIPPERS 103, WARRIORS 99: Tyrone Nesby scored a season-high 28 points and Lamar Odom added 22 and seven blocked shots as visiting Los Angeles defeated Golden State.
Eric Piatkowski also scored 22 for the Clippers, who ended a six-game losing streak on the road and won for the first time this season after trailing at halftime.
John Starks scored 22 points to lead the Warriors, who have lost three of four.