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Celtics Lose 3rd in 4 Games, 1st Without Garnett

BOSTON — Trevor Ariza made a tiebreaking 3-pointer with 1:34 to play and David West scored four of his 19 points in the final minute, helping the New Orleans Hornets pull out an 83-81 win over the injury-riddled Boston Celtics on Friday.

Chris Paul had 20 points and 11 assists for New Orleans, which won for just the third time in seven games. Emeka Okafor scored 18 points and grabbed 13 rebounds.

Ray Allen led Boston with 18 points, but hit the back rim a desperation 3 in the closing seconds. Paul Pierce had 12 points and seven boards. Nate Robinson scored 11 and had six rebounds.

Boston has lost three of four since winning 14 straight.

After Boston moved ahead 73-66 on Allen’s 3-pointer with just under 6 1/2 minutes to play, New Orleans scored 11 of the next 13 points, taking the lead on Marco Belinelli‘s jumper from the top of the key with 3:07 left.

Robinson tied it with a driving basket with 1:59 to go. He was fouled on the play, but missed the free throw before Ariza’s 3 moved the Hornets ahead 25 seconds later. West then nailed a jumper from the left wing with 54 seconds left.

Pierce had a basket and Allen two free throws, closing it to 82-81 with 21 seconds to play.

Boston had to foul, putting West on the line with 19.6 seconds left. He missed the first, but made the second.

After Pierce fumbled a pass near the sideline, he passed it to Allen, who was forced to take his long 3. Paul grabbed the rebound and Boston was unable to foul before time expired.

New Orleans opened a 66-57 lead on Okafor’s dunk in the closing minute of the third quarter before Boston scored 16 straight points over a 5:37 stretch.

Allen started the run with a jumper with four seconds left in the third and hit three straight baskets in the fourth — the final two were 3-pointers 1:15 apart. The second gave Boston a 73-66 lead with 6:27 to play.

The Hornets missed their first nine shots from the floor to open the fourth quarter before Belinelli hit a jumper from the top, halting a scoreless stretch of 5 minutes, 45 seconds. Boston opened the quarter by nailing seven of its initial 10 shots.

New Orleans led 66-57 after three.

Boston point guard Rajon Rondo, who leads the league with 13.8 assists per game, missed his seventh straight with a sprained left ankle. Forward Kevin Garnett was out with a strained right calf, and injury sustained Wednesday against Detroit. Center Kendrick Perkins has not played yet this season due to offseason knee surgery from an injury in Game 6 of the NBA Finals and backup point guard Delonte West missed his 16th straight game with a broken right wrist.

Neither team shot over 42 percent in the opening half, with Boston holding a 39-37 edge at the break.

Game notes
Boston’s makeshift lineup due to the injuries had Pierce looking a bit frustrated at one point in the opening half. He clamped his hands twice calling for the ball from Von Wafer before shrugging his shoulders. During a timeout, Pierce was talking to Wafer for a while. … “I heard guys saying somebody needs to step up. Nobody needs to step up,” Boston coach Doc Rivers said of the list of key injured players. “The guys just need to do what they can do.” … The Hornets had consecutive double-digit losses to the Lakers and Minnesota in their previous games. … West played despite being listed as questionable with a sprained left ankle. … Davis was whistled for a technical in the third quarter.


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