March 6, 2009

NBA: Boston 105, Cleveland 94

Paul Pierce scored 29 points Friday night and Boston slowed down LeBron James to bring the Celtics a 105-94 win over Cleveland.

Boston (49-14) moved into a virtual tie with Cleveland (48-13) for the best record in the Eastern Conference.

Still playing without injured superstar Kevin Garnett, Boston shot 54 percent from the field and piled up 31 assists. Leon Powe contributed a season-high 20 points and also claimed 11 rebounds.

Boston improved to 5-2 since Garnett was sidelined.

James made only 5-of-15 shots from the field and finished with 21 points. He missed a fast break dunk attempt in the first quarter and never seemed to recover.

Mo Williams led Cleveland with 26 points in the Cavaliers' second loss in 11 games.

Cleveland and Boston will meet for the fourth and final time in the regular season April 12. Boston has a 2-1 advantage in the season series, which would be the first tiebreaker if the teams are deadlocked after 82 games.