Garnett helps Celtics earn 60th win of the seasonApr 3, 2008 - 3:49 AM By Brian Devine PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
BOSTON (Ticker) - The Boston Celtics continued their winning ways by easily defeating the Indiana Pacers, 92-77, en route to their 60th win of the season on Wednesday.
It was 12th time Boston's franchise history that it has recorded a 60-win campaign.
The Celtics (60-15) last accomplished the feat in 1985-86. That team went on to win the last of their record-setting 16 titles.
"Sixty is all good, we have a bigger picture in mind," Boston swingman Paul Pierce said. "It's great to get as many wins as we get, but the goal for us is wrapping up home court throughout the playoffs. That record goes out the window once the playoffs start."
All-Star Kevin Garnett had 20 points and 10 rebounds and Leon Powe added 14 and 10 off the bench as Boston tied the 1997-98 San Antonio Spurs for the largest improvement in a one-season span with a 36-game leap.
"Did we do that? Thanks for telling me; I didn't know, I had no idea," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. "It's nice but it's not. I guess the point I'm trying to make is when we started the season, it was not on our list of things we wanted to do."
The Celtics wasted no time taking control in this one as they jumped out to an impressive 29-17 advantage after the opening quarter. Pierce had eight of his 13 points in the period.
"We didn't make the shots that we had to in the first half," Pacers coach Jim O'Brien said. "We dug ourselves to big of a hole to comeback against these guys, we didn't put our best foot forward and we had an opportunity to make this a lot closer game that it was and we didn't do it."
Boston continued to surge ahead in the second as Garnett's 20-footer capped a 10-4 surge to close out the first half to create a 49-30 bulge at intermission and never looked back.
"You still have to work to get the leads, you have to work to get the blowouts," Garnett said. "It is bigger when the blowout opportunity comes for the guys on the bench and you get a rhythm like that, but it is a lot of work that goes into creating a blowout."
The Celtics have won five straight games to reduce their magic number for the best record in the Eastern Conference and home-court advantage throughout to one game.
"It is showing we are playing great defense, but I think we have a lot to improve on our defense, especially in the fourth quarter, we gave up a lot of points," Boston guard Rajon Rondo said.
Danny Granger scored 14 points and Jermaine O'Neal chipped in 12 for the Pacers (31-44), who fell four games behind Atlanta (35-40) for the eighth and final spot in the East.
"We are running out of time, we are four games back with seven games back so do the mathematics, we have to win out for us to get in but it is a situation that we put ourselves in and if we can get in it would be great," O'Neal said.
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