for this game

Celtics rebound from first loss, crush Warriors

Nov 22, 2007 - 4:30 AM By Mike Petraglia PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

BOSTON (Ticker) - The Boston Celtics suffered no hangover from their first loss of the season.

Ray Allen hit three key 3-pointers as part of a 13-point third quarter and finished with 21 points to help the Celtics overpower the Golden State Warriors, 105-82, Wednesday night at the TD Banknorth Garden.

Kevin Garnett had 20 points and 10 rebounds and Paul Pierce added 19 and 10 as the Celtics remained perfect in six home games.

Boston (9-1) was playing its first game since suffering its first loss of the season Sunday night in Orlando.

"The good teams in the league never lose two in a row," Allen said. "When you lose a game, you know how to respond and how to go about competing. Even if you lose two in a row, sometimes you just want to compete and give your best effort. Sometimes you do lose two in a row because you face a couple of hot teams."

The Celtics came out with an emphasis on defense, holding the Warriors to just 7-of-25 shooting in the first quarter and 33 percent (29-of-87) in the contest.

"Defensively, they were pretty darn good," Warriors coach Don Nelson said. "What makes them so good is, of course, Garnett. He's just everywhere. And they work hard at it, but we didn't give them much of a challenge. We didn't move the ball, we didn't shoot it when we had it. We were a terrible team tonight."

Monta Ellis led the Warriors with 21 points while Stephen Jackson chipped in with 15. Golden State, which had recorded wins in Toronto and New York, saw its three-game winning streak snapped and lost for the first time on its six-game East Coast road trip.

The Warriors came into the game without two of their top players in Al Harrington and Matt Barnes - both were absent due to personal reasons - and Troy Hudson also was out with a strained left hip.

The Celtics took advantage early, scoring the game's first five points before eventually grabbing a 22-12 lead on Allen's steal and layup with 2:18 remaining in the opening quarter. Boston led, 25-16, after the first quarter.

"We were more in tune to the things we're not doing well consistently, and trying to fix those things," Garnett said. "That's what tonight was about."

Golden State drew to within six points twice early in the second quarter before James Posey connected on two free throws with 9:42 remaining to start a 16-3 Celtics spurt. Brian Scalabrine's 3-pointer capped the run and gave Boston a 42-23 advantage with 5:33 remaining in the half.

In the first half, the Warriors looked like a team playing for the second straight night on a cross-country swing through Eastern Conference teams.

"A team like that on the second night of a back-to-back you have to put them away early," Pierce said. "If you give them any sort of confidence, those teams can sneak up on you."

"You can't use back-to-back games as an excuse, because we have a ton of back-to-back this year, if we use that excuse now, then we go to every back-to-back with that mentality," Ellis said. "We just got beat tonight and we didn't shoot the ball well at all. We have to shoot better with teams like that, and hopefully, we get over this and bounce back the next game."

Starters Mickael Pietrus and Kelenna Azubuike each went 0-of-5 from the field as the Warriors made just 14-of-17 field-goal attempts on their way to shooting 30 percent. Boston also dominated the glass in the first 24 minutes, outrebounding Golden State, 31-14.

"I think we missed open shots when we had them and they challenged some of them," Nelson said. "We just couldn't get anything done. Just one of those games. It happens. I'm not that upset. We've got two more games on this road trip, so we need a day of rest.

"We've got four in five days. The schedule-maker wasn't kind to us. But anyway, we've got another back-to-back. A day off, another back-to-back coming up. So we hope we can do a little better."

The second half proved to be no different as Boston continued to extend its lead behind Allen's big third quarter.

The Celtics won the battle of the boards, 52-40, and got 15 points off the bench from guard Eddie House as the reserves guided the team to the win in the fourth quarter.

"Yeah, we needed it," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said of the blowout win. "We needed this. We needed the break (THursday). We have to get through these two coming up, and then we get a little break again, which will be very nice for us."

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