Paul Pierce scored 22 points and Gary Payton had 21 against his former team as the Boston Celtics snapped a three-game losing streak, beating the streaking Seattle SuperSonics 98-84 tonight.

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Paul Pierce scored 22 points and Gary Payton had 21 against his former team as the Boston Celtics snapped a three-game losing streak, beating the streaking Seattle SuperSonics 98-84 tonight.

Payton set the tempo against the club he led for 13 seasons, outdueling second-year point guard Luke Ridnour, and the Celtics held Seattle to a season-low 32.6 percent from the floor and kept the Sonics scoreless in the final 3 minutes.

Mark Blount added 11 points for Boston and Tony Allen had 12 to help the Celtics hand Seattle its first homecourt loss in 10 games this season.

Rashard Lewis scored 19 points to lead the Sonics and Ray Allen had 16, but the Celtics held Allen, a four-time All-Star who was obtained in a blockbuster trade with Milwaukee for Payton in February 2003, to just four points in the second half.

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Danny Forston had 16 points and 11 rebounds for Seattle, and his muscular inside game represented the only offense the Sonics could generate in the second half. It was all but over when he fouled out with 1:58 to play.

The Sonics had won eight of nine after losing in Boston on Nov. 21, but now the Celtics are responsible for two of Seattle’s four losses on the season.

It was tied at 65 with 4:40 to play in the third when the Celtics took off. Welsch hit a jumper, Tony Allen made a technical free throw and Mark Blount hit a jumper to spark Boston’s 10-4 burst to close the period.

Two quick baskets from Raef LaFrentz and Ricky Davis, and the Celtics were up 79-69 2 minutes into the final quarter. After a free throw by Lewis, Tony Allen followed a missed shot with a tip-in that put Boston up 81-70 with 9:48 remaining.

The Sonics rallied, going on a 10-2 run to cut it to 83-80 midway through the fourth quarter, but they went dry from the perimeter down the stretch.

Fortson’s putbacks and tough inside play helped Seattle get back in it. He scored two straight baskets for Seattle after misses by Allen, cutting it to 87-84 with 3:09 to go, but the Sonics couldn’t score again.

Notes: Payton received a lengthy ovation when the starters were introduced. He is Seattle’s career leader in scoring (18,207), assists (7,384), steals (2,107), games (999), minutes (36,858) and personal fouls (2,577). … Mariners RF Ichiro Suzuki sat next to Sonics chairman Howard Schultz. … The Sonics activated G Ronald “Flip” Murray and C Vitaly Potapenko from the injured list.