Celtics complete Texas-sized sweep

The Baltimore Sun

Ray Allen returned from a three-game injury absence and a long time on the bench in the fourth quarter to nail a go-ahead three-pointer with 31.7 seconds left, lifting the Boston Celtics past the Dallas Mavericks, 94-90, last night.

The Celtics completed an impressive sweep in the Lone Star State, becoming the first team to go 3-0 in San Antonio, Houston and Dallas since the Sacramento Kings in November 2001. Boston gave the Spurs their first home loss in six weeks, ended Houston's 22-game winning streak, then gave the Mavericks just their sixth home loss.

Allen, recovering from a jammed left ankle, scored 21 points in 31 minutes. His clutch jump shot came on his only attempt of the final period. He spent the first 10:06 on the bench, then went back in after Dallas had just gone ahead 88-87.

Paul Pierce had 22 points and a season-high 13 rebounds, and Kevin Garnett added 20 and 13. Boston upped its NBA-best record to 55-13 while winning for the 14th time in 15 games. This was the Celtics' first win in Dallas since 2000, ending a seven-game skid.

Bulls 102, Spurs 80 -- Tony Parker scored 23 points and Tim Duncan had 22 to go with 10 rebounds as San Antonio ended a four-game losing streak with a rout of host Chicago. The defending NBA champs avoided their first five-game losing streak since the 1996-97 season - the one before Duncan's rookie year.

Off the court

Knicks -- If Isiah Thomas' coaching job is in jeopardy, he won't try to save it with meaningless wins down the stretch. Thomas made it clear yesterday he's playing for the future - whether he's a part of it or not - by revealing the Knicks probably will not use Zach Randolph during the next two games.

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