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Wilcox powers Sonics over Celtics

Jan 1, 2007 - 6:51 AM SEATTLE (Ticker) -- Chris Wilcox kept the Boston Celtics moving in reverse.

Wilcox scored 24 points to lead the Seattle SuperSonics to a 101-95 victory over the road-weary Celtics.

In helping the Sonics snap a two-game losing streak, Wilcox shot 8-of-13 from the field and keyed a decisive 11-0 run in the third quarter.

"I thought he was really special tonight, very inspired, very aggressive," Seattle coach Bob Hill said. "I thought he was pretty good. I tell him to be aggressive all the time. I say it all the time.

"It's something like, 'Are you going to play hard tonight?' or 'Which Wilcox is showing up tonight?' It's lighthearted stuff but he gets my message."

The Celtics never could recover and fell to 0-4 on the five-game West Coast road swing, which concludes on Monday night in Portland. Boston also fell to 0-6 since leading scorer Paul Pierce suffered a foot injury on December 20.

With Seattle leading, 57-51, Wilcox scored the final five points of an 11-0 run on back-to-back dunks and a free throw to push the advantage to 68-51 with 4 1/2 minutes to play in the third quarter.

"My mind-set was just to finish," Wilcox said. "Guys made great plays to get me the ball and I just went strong and finished everything."

Damien Wilkins scored 20 points for the Sonics, who shot 54 percent (40-of-74) from the field. Wilkins hit 9-of-11 shots and added five rebounds, five assists and two blocked shots.

"I thought Damien's game starting at small forward was real special," Hill said.

The Celtics managed to get within 86-80 with 4:31 left, but Earl Watson buried a long 3-pointer and then made a steal and converted a layup to restore the lead to double digits at 91-80.

Boston's Gerald Green made it interesting at the end, converting a three-point play and sinking two long shots from the arc just six seconds apart.

"Boston kept clawing their way back into the game," Wilkins said. "I think if Gerald Green had hit one of those threes in the corner, it was a three-point game. We did a great job of closing them down. Without Paul Pierce they're a different team. We can't have that kind of slippage."

Tony Allen scored 17 of his 23 points in the first half and Al Jefferson netted 12 of his 21 in the fourth quarter for Boston, which made just 4-of-17 shots from the arc.

"We just make so many mistakes as a group," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. "I understand why so I'm patient with it, but there's just too many to win games, especially if you're down."

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