Printed on: January 08, 2013

Boston wins one in MSG without suspended Rondo


Associated press

NEW YORK -- Paul Pierce scored 23 points, and the Boston Celtics beat the New York Knicks 102-96 on Monday night in a heated first meeting of the season between the Atlantic Division rivals.

Kevin Garnett added 19 points and 10 rebounds for the Celtics, who even without the suspended Rajon Rondo won their third straight and finally are playing like the team that has ruled the division for the last half-decade.

The Knicks want that title now, but Carmelo Anthony and his teammates were reminded how tough the Celtics can make it.

Anthony had 20 points but shot 6 of 26 while battling his temper, Garnett and foul trouble. J.R. Smith led the Knicks with 24 points.

Rondo was suspended Monday for making contact with a referee in a game against Atlanta on Saturday and failure to cooperate with an NBA investigation. Without the NBA's assist leader, the Celtics relied on the kind of defense that has been absent too often this season.

They allowed 78 points per game in their last two wins, then held the Knicks to 40 in the second half Monday.

Pierce, who was also in foul trouble in the tightly and sometimes inconsistently called game, put it away with a jumper with 45 seconds to go, blowing a kiss toward the crowd he loves to torment after putting the Celtics up by six.

Anthony had averaged 34.4 points in his last 10 games and had a pair of 40-point performances last week, but his jumper was off from the start Monday as the Knicks had their two-game winning streak snapped.

Boston led by four when Anthony and Garnett became extra physical with each other on a Boston possession that ended with a turnover with 9:03 remaining. Anthony followed him all the way to midcourt as they jawed at each other following the play, leading to technical fouls on both players.

The trash talk didn't just stay on the court -- or between players. Pierce tried to throw the ball in from the sideline shortly after, only to have Spike Lee standing and yelling in his ear the whole time.

Jason Kidd's 3-pointer tied it at 86, but Pierce dunked and Avery Bradley made a jumper for a four-point lead with 5:32 to play. The Knicks got it to one before Pierce's jumper with three minutes to play, and the Knicks never got that close again.

Around the NBA

BULLS 118, CAVALIERS 92: At Chicago, Carlos Boozer had 24 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Bulls to a rout of the Cavaliers.

It was the third straight game that Boozer has eclipsed 20 points. This time he did it against the team that drafted him in 2002.

Joakim Noah added 11 points and 11 rebounds while Luol Deng had 19 points and seven assists for the Bulls, who beat the Cavaliers for an 11th straight time.

Chicago (19-13), which posted a season-high in points, moved to 11-1 when Boozer and Noah have double-doubles.

Dion Waiters led Cleveland (8-28) with 18 points. C.J. Miles and Kyrie Irving had 15 points apiece.

WIZARDS 101, THUNDER 99: At Washington, Bradley Beal made a jumper with 0.3 seconds left after using a pump fake to get open, and the short-handed Wizards beat the Thunder.

Kevin Durant led Oklahoma City (26-8) with 29 points.

The Wizards (5-28), playing without their top two scorers, had lost 13 of their previous 14, but they also beat the Miami Heat earlier in the season. Beal and Martell Webster led the Washington with 22 points each.

Kevin Seraphin added 19 points, and Emeka Okafor had 12 points and 12 rebounds.

The Thunder missed 16 straight shots from midway through the third quarter to midway through the fourth quarter.

HORNETS 95, SPURS 88: At New Orleans, Eric Gordon scored six straight points in a fourth quarter spurt and had 24 overall to lead the Hornets to a victory over San Antonio.

Anthony Davis added 17 points, Greivis Vasquez 14 and Ryan Anderson 13 for the Hornets, who have won two consecutive games for the first time since Nov. 2-3.

Manu Ginobili scored 21 points to lead the Spurs, who had won eight of their previous nine, dating to a 99-94 victory over the Hornets in San Antonio on Dec. 21.

Tony Parker had 16 points, Tim Duncan 13 and Kawhi Leonard 10 for San Antonio. Duncan was 5 of 14, at one point missing five consecutive shots in the third quarter.

The Spurs committed 19 turnovers, leading to 23 points for New Orleans.

GRIZZLIES 113, KINGS 81: At Sacramento, Calif., Wayne Ellington scored a season-high 26 points, hitting six 3-pointers, to help the Grizzlies rout the Kings.

Zach Randolph scored 17 points and had seven rebounds for Memphis. Mike Conley had 15 points and eight assists and Marc Gasol had 13 points for the Grizzlies, who outscored the Kings 36-20 in the third quarter to blow the game open.

John Salmons led the Kings with 17 points, Jason Thompson had 12 and DeMarcus Cousins had 10 and eight rebounds.

Tyreke Evans returned to the Kings after missing the previous 11 games with a sore left knee. He had five points in 12 minutes.

Besides playing well offensively, the Grizzlies did a nice job of containing Cousins. In the previous four games, Cousins had averaged 24.5 points and 15.2 rebounds.

TRAIL BLAZERS 125, MAGIC 119, OT: At Portland, Ore., LaMarcus Aldridge had 27 points and 10 rebounds, and the Blazers handed the Magic their ninth straight loss.

Wesley Matthews finished with 24 points, including a dunk that all but sealed it with less than a minute to go in overtime, and J.J. Hickson added 20 points and 15 rebounds for his 20th double-double this season.

Portland has won three straight and 11 of its last 14 games.

Aldridge hit a layup and a free throw that put Portland ahead 112-108 with 3:38 in overtime. After the Magic tied it at 112 on J.J. Redick's hook shot, Blazers rookie Damian Lillard made a pull-up jumper to reclaim the lead.

Redick led the Magic with 29 points, while Arron Afflalo had 24. Nikola Vucevic had 17 points and 13 rebounds.