for this game

Garnett, Pierce help Celtics roll at home again

Dec 8, 2007 - 4:19 AM BOSTON (Ticker) -- It was business as usual for the Boston Celtics at TD Banknorth Garden.

Kevin Garnett scored 23 points and Paul Pierce chipped in 18 to help the Celtics roll to a convincing 112-84 triumph over the undermanned Toronto Raptors on Friday night.

Ray Allen poured in 13 points and James Posey collected 10 and 10 rebounds off the bench for the Celtics, who have captured five straight games and 16 of 18 overall.

Boston improved to 10-0 at home with seven of those wins coming by at least 20 points, highlighted by its eye-popping 45-point thrashing of the New York Knicks on November 29.

"That is something we've wanted to establish since I've been here, and I've been unsuccessful. We've never had that, so every win that we get, it brings to light more that it's tough," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said of playing at home. "Boston is a tough place to play."

Behind Pierce, the Celtics wasted no time opening a comfortable advantage after the first quarter. The 6-6 forward scored nine of his 11 first-half points in the period as Boston created a 27-16 edge.

"Well, it's a great win for us. We've been struggling in the first quarters and that's what we talked about before the game, jump on them early, which was important," Rivers said.

The Celtics didn't seem to ease things up in the second when Eddie House's 3-pointer sparked an 11-2 surge that pushed the lead to 49-28 with 5:09 remaining.

"We are just doing our job, just coming in and playing, and you get it from different guys it seems every night," said House, who scored 13 points.

After just two quarters, Boston held a 62-40 advantage and shot a blistering 52 percent (19-of-36) from the floor. The trio of Garnett, Pierce and Allen combined for 35 points in the half.

"I think the main emphasis today was to get the ball inside and we had our advantages there, especially with (Garnett) and myself," Pierce said. "We got the ball to Kevin early and often and he went to work."

Friday's matchup was no where as exciting as the first meeting between the teams when Allen drilled the game-winning 3-pointer with just seconds left in overtime to defeat the Raptors, 98-95, on November 4.

"When we play these games and win, we can let them go and we can pick up the next game and not have to worry, it does make life a lot easier because we don't have to agonize too long," Allen said.

A large part of Toronto's problems in this one can be attributed to the absence of Chris Bosh (groin) and former No. 1 overall pick Andrea Bargnani (knee) due to injuries. Bosh has missed five straight games, while Bargnani sat out his third in a row.

"I'm just looking forward to the day that we can get healthy and get our guys in shape and then we can see what kind of basketball team we are," Raptors coach Sam Mitchell said. "A lot of teams have had injuries, a lot of teams haven't played well, so we just got to hang in there until we can get healthy and win some games."

Anthony Parker scored 13 points and T.J. Ford chipped in 12 for Toronto, which shot 42 percent (34-of-80) en route to its third loss in four games.

"I think they're good, they still have to come see us two more times, so we got them again next Sunday," Ford said. "They are going to come on our home court again and we just need to come out with that intensity, and you just take the challenge."

The Raptors have lost nine of their last 10 trips to Boston.

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