for this game

Allen leads Celtics over Trail Blazers

Jan 2, 2007 - 7:03 AM PORTLAND, Oregon (Ticker) -- The "old" leather basketball did not bother Tony Allen.

Allen scored 22 points to lift the Boston Celtics to a 89-81 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers to snap a six-game losing streak.

The 6-4 guard, who scored 23 points for Boston in Sunday's 101-95 loss to the Seattle SuperSonics, finished 9-of-13 from the floor with the old leather ball, which was brought back to replace the microfiber composite ball used since the preseason.

"Tony Allen was great," Boston coach Doc Rivers said. "I mean he starts both halves with steals for layups. He just an aggressive guy. The reason he was so good offensively is because he bought into his role defensively. He believes know that he is our best defender, and knows he is going to get stops, and then he's getting other things from that."

"This has been a nightmare trip so far," Boston forward Wally Szczerbiak. "We lost six in a row, but a lot of people stepped up and found a way to compete and come away with a victory. It was a nice win to end our trip."

The decisive juncture of the game came in the fourth quarter when Boston embarked on a 13-4 tear to take control.

Sebastian Telfair started the run with an eight-foot jump shot to give the Celtics a 72-70 lead. Szczerbiak finished the crucial stretch when he sank a layup with 2:04 left in the quarter to give the Celtics an 83-74 advantage.

Portland lost for the fifth time in six games after making just 2-of-17 from the floor and scoring only 14 points in the final period.

"Just bad play tonight," Portland forward Zach Randolph said. "I didn't even know we were that bad in the fourth. There will be nights like this. I saw a lot of double teams tonight, and my knee was bothering me a little, but I couldn't get anything going. Every time I caught the ball, I had to pass it. Just a tough night all around."

Ryan Gomes added 18 points for Boston while Szczerbiak finished with 15. Brandon Roy led Portland with 18 points.

"I would just say that offensively we don't have any rhythm," Roy said. "There were times that were just running around and it didn't look like we had a clue what we were doing."

Roy, who entered averaging 12.5 points per game, said he liked the leather ball, for the most part.

"I think the biggest difference with the ball was with the loose balls," Roy said. "It is hard to grab it. For the most part, I like it though. I like shooting with it better. It flows off my fingertips a little better."