Celtics are 25-2 When they Score 100 Points

March 12, 2002

WASHINGTON - This season, he became an NBA All-Star for the first time, and now Paul Pierce can add something else to his burgeoning basketball resume: member of the United States team for the 2002 World Championships.

USA Basketball today will announce the final five members of the US team that will compete this summer (Aug. 29-Sept. 8) in Indianapolis. Pierce, who played for USA Basketball teams while at Kansas, said last night that he had gotten an invitation to join the team.

    "You always like to represent your country," Pierce said before last night's 104-99 victory over the Wizards. "It's a great honor."

Said teammate Antoine Walker, "I think it's great for Paul. It's a great honor and it shows we are starting to get some individual recognition for the way we're playing."

Walker, also an All-Star this season, was not picked.

"I didn't really even give it any thought," he said.

Among those also expected to receive invitations today are Andre Miller of Cleveland, Raef LaFrentz of Dallas, and perhaps Jason Williams of Duke.

Already named to the team in November were Ray Allen (Milwaukee), Jason Kidd (New Jersey), Reggie Miller (Indiana), Antonio Davis (Toronto), Michael Finley (Dallas), Shawn Marion (Phoenix), and Jermaine O'Neal (Indiana). The US team will be coached by Milwaukee's George Karl. Networking

The selection of Pierce to the US team wasn't the only evidence yesterday that the Celtics are, as the song goes, movin' on up. They also were informed by NBC that their March 24 game against the Pistons will be moved up to 12:30 p.m. for national television. The game, at the Palace of Auburn Hills, was to have started at 4 p.m. The new time is a break for the Celtics because they have to play the Heat the following night in Miami . . . Tony Battie missed his fifth straight game with a lower leg bruise, but accompanied the team. Coach Jim O'Brien said Battie may be able to play either tomorrow against the Nets or at Memphis or San Antonio this weekend . . . Washington coach Doug Collins on his Boston counterpart: "I think Coach O'Brien has been magnificent this year. You don't hear his name mentioned a lot among the best coaches in the NBA because he's a very unassuming guy, he steps back. He's done a magnificent job with this team." . . . The Celtics are 25-2 when they score 100 points . . . For the first time since joining the team for the third game of the season, Erick Strickland did not play . . . Collins on the Celtics' improved defense: "They smother the ball on screen and rolls. They front the post. They're very aggressive. It's sort of like you commit 50 fouls because you know they'll only call 30 of them. But they are a much better defensive team and the players are much more committed to defense."

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