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West leads fourth-quarter run as Celtics win second straight

Nov 18, 2006 - 3:09 AM BOSTON (Ticker) -- Paul Pierce was magnificent again. But he wasn't the story.

Pierce scored 29 points and five reserves scored on 10 consecutive possessions to start the fourth quarter as the Boston Celtics pulled away in the second half for a second straight game in a 118-90 victory over the struggling Portland Trail Blazers.

Wally Szczerbiak scored 19 points for the Celtics (3-6), who were off to their worst start since the 1978-79 campaign until winning consecutive games for the first time this season.

Pierce and Szczerbiak scored 12 points each during the third period as Boston turned a seven-point halftime edge to a 77-65 lead after three quarters.

"I think the bench just came in and really fed off our energy at the end of the third," Pierce said "They made a nice little run there and pushed the lead up. They fed off our energy."

Then Rivers went to a small lineup of reserves and they responded by blowing the roof off, posting a 25-9 run in the first five minutes of the fourth period to give the Celtics a commanding 102-74 lead.

"The only thing we said was they have size, we have speed," Boston coach Doc Rivers said. "We have to turn this thing into a track meet. We had to be pesky on defense, play the passing lanes, force turnovers and it worked."

Delonte West led the burst with 13 points.

"Delonte tonight was fantastic," Pierce said. "With that second unit, I told him, 'You're going to be our guy to look to score. We need you to be more aggressive and look for your shot.' He saw that out there and it got going into the fourth."

"Delonte was on fire, so that didn't hurt at all," Rivers said. "He needed that. It was big for him because he's still trying to search where his shots are coming from. Tonight was one of those nights where the stars lined up for all of the young guys and everyone got their shots."

West, who is coming off the bench this season after starting at point guard last year, hit two 3-pointers, a three-point play and two jumpers in the fourth-quarter run. Gerald Green, Tony Allen and rookie Rajon Rondo scored four points each during the spurt.

"I think my teammates did a good job of getting me more involved in the game," West said. "The second team just kind of fed off of the first team's energy. They started out the third quarter strong. With my new role, I just have to come in and piggyback what they started."

In Wednesday's 114-88 victory over Indiana, the Celtics outscored the Pacers by 24 in the second half.

Former Trail Blazer Sebastian Telfair had 15 points and seven assists for the Celtics, who shot 51 (39-of-76) percent and made 12-of-20 shots from the arc. Pierce was 4-of-6 from 3-point range.

"It felt good. I'd be lying if I said it didn't," Telfair said. "I feel good that we went out there and played the way we did against a team that traded me. It wasn't revenge. I'm not holding a grudge that bad, but I'm happy we went out there and played the way we did."

Zach Randolph had 23 points and 12 rebounds for the Trail Blazers, who have lost four straight.

"We're not playing good basketball right now," Portland coach Nate McMillan said. "We're not making shots. I think it is frustrating us. We're giving up easy baskets. We are giving up points way too easy."

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