Paul Pierce Scores 29 Points, Kevin Garnett 22 as Celtics Cruise Past Knicks

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Paul Pierce Scores 29 Points, Kevin Garnett 22 as Celtics Cruise Past Knicks BOSTON — Paul Pierce scored 29
points, Kevin Garnett had 22 and the Boston Celtics cruised to their
third straight lopsided victory at home, 109-97 over the New York Knicks
on Wednesday night.

And for the third straight home game,
all five Boston starters watched the fourth quarter from the bench.

The Celtics led 32-19 after the first
quarter, 68-49 at halftime and 92-69 after the third. Garnett's jumper
with 5:26 left in the second quarter gave them a 48-37 lead and they
stayed ahead by double figures the rest of the way. Pierce's basket
midway through the third quarter gave Boston its biggest lead, 81-54.

David Lee led the Knicks with 29
points, and Al Harrington had 16.

Boston's blowouts all came against
struggling teams — 122-103 over Indiana and 119-93 over Detroit before
the victory over the Knicks. But those first two wins were interrupted
by a 104-93 loss at Cleveland, an indication that the Celtics may be
improving but aren't good enough to beat the best in the Eastern
Conference.

On Wednesday, though, they dominated
from the start and kept connecting as the Knicks kept allowing
uncontested jumpers and layups.

The Knicks missed their first seven
shots before Lee's layup cut the lead to 9-4. Garnett sank his first six
shots before finally missing with 3:15 left in the second quarter with
the score 50-37.

Then Boston expanded the lead by
making 3-pointers on three consecutive baskets — by Pierce, Ray Allen
and Pierce again — that made it 61-44.

Lee hit the first basket of the third
quarter, but Boston went on a 13-3 run and took its biggest lead, 81-54
on Pierce's 15-foot fadeaway with 7:16 to go.

Pierce missed all of the first
quarter after picking up his second foul just 1:51 into the game. He
returned with 10:55 left in the second and had 13 points in the quarter.

Rajon Rondo had 12 assists in just 27
minutes and tied Bob Cousy for fifth place among Celtics players for
assists in one season with 642. Cousy did it in 1954-55.

Notes
Former Celtics G Eddie House
missed the game with a sore right Achilles' tendon. Knicks starting G
Wilson Chandler sat out with a sore left groin. … The Celtics are 3-0
against the Knicks with one meeting left April 6 in New York. … Boston
begins a three-game road trip in Houston on Friday then travels to
Dallas and Utah. … New York had won its previous two games, both away
from home and ended its road trip at 2-3 before facing Philadelphia on
Friday, Houston on Sunday and Denver on Tuesday. … Boston's reserves
scored 35 points two nights after getting 61 against Detroit.

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