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Celts lose to Phoenix; Pierce loses some teeth

The Arizona Republic

The Suns get tough for a second road win. Pierce goes up against Stoudemire; comes down minus two incisors.


The Arizona Republic

BOSTON – The Phoenix Suns knocked Boston down and out at the FleetCenter last night in a 103-94 victory that was the club’s first against a quality opponent on the road all season.

Heck, it was only the second win on the road against any foe.

“So it can happen,” Suns coach Frank Johnson said.

It happened because the Suns finally showed some resolve against a team somewhere other than at America West Arena. It was their first victory in three tries on their five-game trip that moves to Philadelphia tomorrow.

And a lot of players contributed, including Shawn Marion. The forward scored 32 points and took down 11 rebounds. He scored nine points in the final 3:54 as the Suns turned a two-point lead at that point into a comfortable victory.

Maybe most important, the Suns responded at a critical point in the third quarter.

That’s when Celtics star Paul Pierce went down on his face after scoring inside against Amare Stoudemire. The Suns rookie went up to challenge the shot, and Pierce landed awkwardly, his right knee giving out. His arm was caught behind him, and Pierce fell directly on his face.

Celtics coach Jim O’Brien was so incensed that no foul was called that he went after referee Scott Wall on the court. O’Brien was assessed a technical foul and ejected. Then Walker was charged with a technical on the play.

“He came into the hole, and I jumped straight up to block the shot,” Stoudemire said. “No contact was made. He was trying to hang to draw the foul, and he came down funny.”

Pierce broke off both of his front teeth and appeared woozy as he was helped off the court.

“He just got hammered,” O’Brien said.

The Celtics led by five at the time, and they led by a point when Pierce returned to the court with 2:47 to go in the quarter.

He received a numbing injection in his mouth and wore a mouth guard. His nose, which was cut in the fall, was bandaged. That got the crowd of 13,049 into the game.

The Celtics led 85-83 with 5:23 to go in the game, but Joe Johnson fed Bo Outlaw for a dunk that started a 12-2 Suns run. Stoudemire had four points during the surge while Marion had five.

On his first return to Boston, Johnson added 19 points and seven rebounds, both season bests. Stoudemire gave the Suns 19 points and 12 rebounds. Stephon Marbury scored 18 points to go with six assists.

And Outlaw, starting in place of Jake Tsakalidis to defend Boston’s Antoine Walker, gave the Suns 44 minutes of nonstop energy.

Walker scored 31 points to lead the Celtics, but he needed 27 shots to get them, didn’t score in the final 6:30 and only went to the free-throw line twice.

Other games

Spurs 111, Mavericks 104: At San Antonio, Tony Parker scored a career-high 32 points, including seven free throws in the final minute.

The loss was only the third in 22 games this season for the Mavericks, who played without leading scorer and rebounder Dirk Nowitzki (sprained ankle).

The Spurs held off a fourth-quarter Dallas charge led by Michael Finley, who made four three-pointers in the period.

Nets 105, Trail Blazers 104: At East Rutherford, N.J., Jason Kidd had 27 points and 12 assists and the Nets continued to make New Jersey an unkind place for visiting teams.

Former Arizona Wildcat Richard Jefferson added 22 points and career-highs of 15 rebounds and seven assists, and Rodney Rogers made a big steal with 8.1 seconds to play.

Pacers 126, Bucks 119, OT: At Milwaukee, Jermaine O’Neal matched his season high with 30 points, including four in overtime, Jamaal Tinsley scored 21 and Reggie Miller 20.

Grizzlies 96, Nuggets 93: At Memphis, Tenn., Jason Williams returned from a three-game absence and scored five of his 16 points in the final 36 seconds.

Williams’ three-pointer with 35.2 seconds left tied the game, 93-93. His two free throws 10 seconds later gave Memphis the lead for good, 95-93.

Pistons 91, Hawks 80: At Auburn Hills, Mich., Richard Hamilton scored a season-high 32 points and Cliff Robinson added a season-best 21 as the Pistons avenged a two-point loss last weekend in Atlanta.

Cavaliers 96, Raptors 83: At Cleveland, rookie Dajuan Wagner scored a career-high 33 points.

PHOTO CAPTION: The Associated Press

Suns forward Shawn Marion (left) yells as he drives past Celtics’ Walter McCarty during last night’s 103-94 Phoenix win. Marion scored 32 points.

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