Garnett, Celtics roar past ice-cold BullsNov 1, 2008 - 4:16 AM By Mike Petraglia PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
BOSTON (Ticker) -- After sweating out a five-point victory in their season opener, the Boston Celtics had no such trouble in Friday's encore.
Kevin Garnett made seven of his 10 first-half shots from the floor and finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds as the Celtics rolled over the Chicago Bulls, 96-80.
The reigning Defensive Player of the Year struggled from the field in the Celtics' 90-85 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers in Tuesday's season opener but didn't take long to get back on track.
"I thought tonight I was a lot more under control," said Garnett, who scored just 11 points on 5-of-15 shooting against the Cavs. "I told (Paul Pierce) I put a lot of burden on him and Ray (Allen) in the first game. We anchor a lot of the responsibility here but tonight I felt a lot more poised."
In the process, Garnett became the youngest player ever to reach 1,000 career NBA games, at 32 years, 165 days.
"It feels crazy, to be honest," Garnett said. "Some players come in here ... and the people we grew up playing against or playing with, unfortunately, they're not in the league. So, to have a plateau of 1,000 games says a lot not only about my conditioning but taking care of my body and trying to be the best player I can be."
The balanced scoring attack and stifling defense that have become the Celtics' signature were on full display. Pierce, Allen and Rajon Rondo chipped in with 14 points apiece as the defending champs opened defense of their title with a 2-0 record.
"We wanted to go out and establish ourselves defensively," Pierce said. "We felt like in game one, we didn't do that so that was definitely the emphasis, knowing that they have a young and talented team and, if you give them any confidence, especially early in the game, you would be in for a long night. We wanted to set the tone early with the defense and we were able to do that."
Kendrick Perkins anchored a strong interior with eight points and 10 rebounds.
Meanwhile, the Celtics' defense held the Bulls to just 30 percent (25-of-84) shooting. Rookie point guard Derrick Rose scored 18 but registered just one assist. Tyrus Thomas suffered through a miserable 2-of-17 shooting night for the Bulls, who lost their fifth straight to the Celtics.
"Nobody was making shots," Rose said. "People who usually hit shots weren't making them tonight. That is going to happen, but we've just got to suck it up and play hard and come out competitive."
The Celtics came out and dominated in every facet from the tip, outscoring the Bulls, 30-12, in the paint in the first half to take a 49-31 halftime lead.
"I loved the way our guys played tonight," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. "The first five, six minutes of the game, that was great. Great execution, great intensity. That was just perfect for us early on."
The Bulls missed their first eight shots and made just four of their first 29, on their way to shooting just 22 percent in the first half.
The Celtics expanded their lead to 26 points on Rondo's layup with 4:46 remaining in the third. The Bulls got no closer than 14 points midway through the fourth quarter.
"Right at the beginning, they really took control with their physicality," first-year Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro said. "They really competed with every possession and they have a swagger about them. They're the world champs and we didn't come in and handle that well. They got every loose ball and they were just more aggressive."
BOSTON 96 FINAL
Oct 31 10:43 PM
BOSTON 70 END, 3RD QTR
Oct 31 10:06 PM
BOSTON 49 HALFTIME
Oct 31 9:15 PM
BOSTON 24 END, 1ST QTR
Oct 31 8:36 PM
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