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NBA FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL --- --- --- --- ----- CHARLOTTE 23 18 32 23 96 BOSTON 22 23 32 25 102 FINAL


CHARLOTTE (96) AT BOSTON (102)

CHARLOTTE REBOUNDS PLAYER POS MIN FGM-FGA FTM-FTA OFF-DEF-TOT AST PF ST TO PTS ====== === === ======= ======= =========== === == == == ===

MASON F 40 1-6 8-14 3 7 10 5 3 0 3 10 RICE F 44 10-20 0-0 0 5 5 1 2 1 2 23 DIVAC C 32 6-8 0-0 7 4 11 3 3 0 1 12 WESLEY G 37 2-8 8-11 1 1 2 9 6 2 5 12 PHILLS G 35 8-14 5-6 1 2 3 1 6 1 4 22 CURRY 17 4-9 0-0 1 4 5 1 0 0 1 9 GEIGER 7 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 0 ARMSTRONG 10 0-1 1-2 0 0 0 1 0 1 1 1 REID 16 1-3 5-6 0 3 3 0 5 0 2 7 BECK 2 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 1 1 0 2 0 FARMER DNP - COACH'S DECISION WILLIAMS DNP - COACH'S DECISION

TOTALS 240 32-69 27-39 13 26 39 22 27 6 22 96 (.464) (.692) TEAM REBS: 16 TOTAL TO: 22(26 PTS)

BOSTON REBOUNDS PLAYER POS MIN FGM-FGA FTM-FTA OFF-DEF-TOT AST PF ST TO PTS ====== === === ======= ======= =========== === == == == ===

MCCARTY F 33 5-9 2-4 3 0 3 5 6 1 2 13 WALKER F 46 3-21 4-5 1 4 5 6 3 1 3 10 DECLERCQ C 24 3-6 1-2 2 8 10 1 5 0 2 7 BILLUPS G 22 3-7 5-6 1 3 4 4 4 2 3 13 BOWEN G 18 0-2 1-3 0 2 2 1 5 0 0 1 THOMAS 12 0-0 2-2 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 2 EDNEY 2 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 MERCER 33 13-21 2-4 4 4 8 0 2 3 0 28 BARROS 25 7-10 2-2 0 1 1 6 2 2 1 18 ROGERS 13 1-1 0-0 0 1 1 0 2 0 0 2 BROWN 4 1-1 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 MINOR 8 3-3 0-2 1 0 1 0 1 1 0 6

TOTALS 240 39-81 19-30 12 23 35 23 31 10 12 102 (.481) (.633) TEAM REBS: 12 TOTAL TO: 12(15 PTS)

CHARLOTTE 23 18 32 23 - 96 BOSTON 22 23 32 25 - 102

BLOCKED SHOTS: CHARLOTTE - RICE 2, DIVAC. BOSTON - ROGERS 2, MCCARTY, MINOR. 3-PT. FIELD GOALS: CHARLOTTE 5-16 (.313), MASON 0-1, RICE 3-6, WESLEY 0-2, PHILLS 1-1, CURRY 1-5, ARMSTRONG 0-1. BOSTON 5-17 (.294), MCCARTY 1-4, WALKER 0-5, BILLUPS 2-4, BARROS 2-4. TECHNICALS: NONE. OFFICIALS: BILL SPOONER, RONNIE NUNN, JIM KINSEY. A - 17,781. T - 2:24.


CHARLOTTE (96) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp Mason 40 1-6 8-14 3-10 5 3 10 Rice 44 10-20 0-0 0-5 1 2 23 Divac 32 6-8 0-0 7-11 3 3 12 Wesley 37 2-8 8-11 1-2 9 6 12 Phills 35 8-14 5-6 1-3 1 6 22 Curry 17 4-9 0-0 1-5 1 0 9 Geiger 7 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 1 0 Armstrong 10 0-1 1-2 0-0 1 0 1 Reid 16 1-3 5-6 0-3 0 5 7 Beck 2 0-0 0-0 0-0 1 1 0 Farmer DNP - coach's decision Williams DNP - coach's decision _______________________________________________ TOTALS 240 32-69 27-39 13-39 22 27 96 _______________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.464, FT-.692. 3-Point Goals: 5-16, .313 (Mason 0-1, Rice 3-6, Wesley 0-2, Phills 1-1, Curry 1-5, Armstrong 0-1). Team rebounds: 16. Blocked shots: 3 (Rice 2, Divac). Turnovers: 22 (Wesley 5, Phills 4, Mason 3, Beck 2, Reid 2, Rice 2, Armstrong, Curry, Divac, Geiger). Steals: 6 (Wesley 2, Armstrong, Geiger, Phills, Rice).

BOSTON (102) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp Mccarty 33 5-9 2-4 3-3 5 6 13 Walker 46 3-21 4-5 1-5 6 3 10 Declercq 24 3-6 1-2 2-10 1 5 7 Billups 22 3-7 5-6 1-4 4 4 13 Bowen 18 0-2 1-3 0-2 1 5 1 Thomas 12 0-0 2-2 0-0 0 1 2 Edney 2 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 Mercer 33 13-21 2-4 4-8 0 2 28 Barros 25 7-10 2-2 0-1 6 2 18 Rogers 13 1-1 0-0 0-1 0 2 2 Brown 4 1-1 0-0 0-0 0 0 2 Minor 8 3-3 0-2 1-1 0 1 6 _______________________________________________ TOTALS 240 39-81 19-30 12-35 23 31 102 _______________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.481, FT-.633. 3-Point Goals: 5-17, .294 (Mccarty 1-4, Walker 0-5, Billups 2-4, Barros 2-4). Team rebounds: 12. Blocked shots: 4 (Rogers 2, Mccarty, Minor). Turnovers: 12 (Billups 3, Walker 3, Declercq 2, Mccarty 2, Barros, Edney). Steals: 10 (Mercer 3, Barros 2, Billups 2, Mccarty, Minor, Walker). ____________________________________________ Charlotte 23 18 32 23 - 96 Boston 22 23 32 25 - 102 ____________________________________________ Technical fouls: None. Flagrant fouls: None. A: 17,781. T: 2:24. Officials: Bill Spooner, Ronnie Nunn, Jim Kinsey.


GAME RECAP

Rookie Ron Mercer hit a pair of crucial jumpers down the stretch and scored a season-high 28 points as the Boston Celtics won their fourth straight game, 102-96 over the struggling Charlotte Hornets.

Mercer, who also grabbed eight rebounds, came off a Boston bench that outscored the Hornets' reserves, 58-17. Dana Barros had 18 points and six assists off the bench as the Celtics (13-12) won for the sixth time in seven games and went over .500 for the first time since they were 7-6 on November 26th.

"Tonight I got into a groove. My teammates got me the ball, they really did a good job at that," Mercer said. "It's really important that we're over .500. We have to take it on the road and build on it."

"We're very excited to be 13-12, it was a tremendous Christmas present for the Celtics," added Boston coach Rick Pitino.

Leading 96-90 with just over two minutes to go, Mercer drained two jumpers around a free throw by Bruce Bowen as Boston sealed the victory with 1:03 to play.

Glen Rice scored 23 points and Bobby Phills fouled out with a season-high 22 for Charlotte, which lost for the third time in its last four games.

The Hornets swept last season's four-game series against the Celtics, who finished with just 15 wins and did not record their 13th victory until March 17th.

"The difference is this year, (the Celtics) believe they can win," Hornets forward Anthony Mason said. "The coach has something to do with it, but it's believing in themselves, that's the difference."

Boston won its fifth straight home game despite a horrific shooting effort from Antoine Walker, the team's leading scorer. Walker finished 3-of-21 from the field for just 10 points. Mercer, who made three steals, took the same number of shots as Walker but made 10 more.

"I didn't shoot well tonight, but the other guys did," Walker said. "They stepped up and played really well. I'll take a bad game for a win any day."

"When your best player can have an off night and you win in the fashion we won, then you know you're playing great defense and we did," Pitino added. "Obviously, we got spectacular play from Ron Mercer, who did all of the facets of the game."

Mercer's dunk gave Boston a 72-66 edge with 3:22 left in the third quarter, but Charlotte scored the next seven points. Phills sparked the spurt with a slam of his own before a layup by Vlade Divac put the Hornets in front, 73-72.

Boston scored the final five points of the period but Charlotte's J.R. Reid drilled a jumper early in the fourth to knot the score, 77-77. A baseline jumper by Walter McCarty with 10:21 to play started an 11-2 run that put Boston ahead for good.

Mercer and Rice traded buckets before Boston's Andrew Declercq hit a putback for an 83-79 edge. Greg Minor scored the next four points and Mercer's free throw increased the Celtics' lead to 88-79 with 6:59 remaining.

McCarty and fellow rookie Chauncey Billups scored 13 points apiece for the Celtics, who turned the ball over just 12 times and scored 26 points off 22 Charlotte turnovers.

"We had 22 turnovers, there's no excuses for unforced errors and that hurt us," Hornets coach Dave Cowens said. "They make things happen by putting pressure on you. I expect to get outcoached, but I don't expect for my guys to get outplayed."

David Wesley fouled out with 12 points and nine assists and Mason added 10 points and 10 rebounds for the Hornets, who shot 46 percent (32-of-69) from the field.

"We did a heckuva job on Antoine Walker. We did a great job of shutting him down, but Dana Barros and Ron Mercer did the job on us tonight," Cowens concluded.

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