for this game

Pierce, Celtics bounce back, rout Bulls

Dec 22, 2007 - 4:43 AM By Mike Petraglia PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

BOSTON (Ticker) -- After a heart-breaking loss on Wednesday that was their first at home this season, the Boston Celtics got back to laughing Friday night at the expense of the Chicago Bulls.

After losing for the first time in 13 games at TD Banknorth Garden on Wednesday, Paul Pierce scored 22 points as the Celtics cruised past the Bulls, 107-82, on Friday night.

"The loss against Detroit left a bad taste in our mouth," Pierce said. "It didn't matter who our opponent was going to be this Friday, we were going to come out and really take it to them, really be aggressive, and really play the way we did today. Expected us to come out like we did."

Pierce hit all four of his 3-pointers and scored 15 of his game-high total in the second half to keep Chicago from mounting a comeback.

"Each game is totally different," Pierce added. "I may not be asked to score a lot of points for us to get a win. I might be asked to do the little things for us to get a win."

Ray Allen scored 18 points and Kevin Garnett added 12 and seven rebounds for the Celtics, who have yet to lose consecutive games this season.

"You know, coming back after the two-point loss to Detroit, I think guys were pretty pumped up about this game," said Boston forward Kendrick Perkins, who scored 12 points. "I can't lie, we wanted to go undefeated at home. We were trying to do that, but we've just got to take it one game at a time."

Atlantic Division-leading Boston (21-3) won for the 10th time in 11 games while Chicago (9-14), the cellar-dwellers of the Central, fell for the ninth time in 13 road games.

After shooting out to a 26-19 lead after the first quarter, the Celtics opened the second on a 14-3 run that broke open the game. Boston outworked a tired Chicago team, which was also missing big man Ben Wallace (sore left ankle) for the second straight contest.

The Celtics took advantage by outrebounding the Bulls, 30-13, in the first half.

Chicago outscored Boston, 7-1, to close out the second quarter and close the deficit to 56-41. But the Bulls could not build on that momentum in the second half as the Celtics began the third quarter with a 7-1 run of their own to regain command.

The Bulls closed to within 69-53 on two free throws by Aaron Gray with 5:11 remaining in the third, but Boston responded with 10-3 run that ended Chicago's hope for the night.

The "Big Three" of Pierce, Garnett and Allen came out of the game for good with just under eight minutes remaining in the fourth quarter as the Celtics enjoyed another easy home-court win.

"It was nice," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. "I mean, we lost one game and we came back and won. Now, we've got to do it again on Sunday. You know how it is. This league never stops. You just have to keep getting better."

Boston has won 18 games by double figures at home, the best mark in the NBA.

Ben Gordon scored 19 points and Gray added 14 and six boards off the bench for the Bulls.

"I don't know, I guess it was just of combination of a bunch of things that we didn't do well," Gordon said. "We didn't shoot the ball well, didn't rebound the ball well, turned it over too many times. We just had an overall bad game."

But Chicago got little help from starters Luol Deng, Andres Nocioni and Kirk Hinrich, who combined for just 18 points.

"Across the board, we didn't have the energy or execution or ball-handling or all the things you need to compete, stay in the game, let alone win against a team like that, we didn't do any of them well enough," Bulls coach Scott Skiles said.

Chicago turned the ball over 21 times, leading to 24 Boston points.

"Well, I know we had too many turnovers, you know they killed us on the boards, and you know we didn't shoot the ball well. It is tough to beat a good team when you don't play well," Skiles added.

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