for this game

Celtics bounce back, hammer Wizards

Jan 3, 2009 - 5:38 AM By Mike Petraglia PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

BOSTON (Ticker) -- The Washington Wizards provided just what the doctor ordered for the road-weary Boston Celtics.

Paul Pierce made his first nine shots from the field and scored 17 of his 26 points in the first half as the Celtics raced out to a huge lead and didn't look back, blowing out the Wizards, 108-83, Friday night at TD Banknorth Garden.

Rajon Rondo added 10 points and 14 assists for Boston, which improved its NBA-best mark to 29-5 while winning its 13th straight at home. The Celtics have not lost at home since November 14 and are now 18-1 on their home parquet.

"You want to gain home court because this is where we played well last season," Pierce said. "This is where we're comfortable. We can play on the road, but home court was made valuable to us last year on our run. So it's definitely important for us to try and establish home court. In doing that we control our destiny."

"Good game for us guys, we needed that. Just need to execute well, and I thought we did," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. "Extra passes, you know I thought defensively we were really active. That was more like we've been playing, instead of the way we've played over the last four or five games."

Nick Young scored 15 points to lead Washington, which fell to 6-25 and lost its eighth in 10 games. Only Oklahoma City (4-30) stands between the Wizards and the worst mark in the NBA.

Antawn Jamison scored 14 for Washington, which fell to 2-13 on the road, the worst mark in the Eastern Conference. Caron Butler returned to the starting lineup after missing three games with a left ankle sprain but scored just eight points.

"They came off the West Coast trip," Butler said. "They didn't get the results that they wanted but they definitely came home and really handed it to us. They played great on both ends of the floor. Paul Pierce was aggressive early on, just getting easy buckets. They just fed off his energy."

The Celtics came out on fire from the field, with Pierce leading the way. Boston's captain made all five of his shots in the first quarter as Boston shot 63 percent and took a commanding 28-14 lead.

"I was just playing in the flow of the game, getting the shots that were there," Pierce said. "I got a lot of open looks because of the way we moved the ball. Rondo got into the lane penetrating and that really opened things up. I just took the open shots that were given to me."

"Paul was terrific," Washington coach Ed Tapscott said. "He's a quality player, a quality competitor. You've got to respect everything he does on the floor, as you would with the rest of the team. They are a very good team."

Boston continued its onslaught in the second, as the second unit rebounded from an uneven performance during the 1-3 road trip and helped build the lead to as much as 51-26 with 2:45 remaining in the quarter.

The Celtics built their lead to 86-55 after three as Pierce continued his near-perfect night. Pierce did not miss a shot until the final 90 seconds of the third quarter and finished 9-of-10. His only other miss came from the free-throw line late in the first half.

"Our focus is starting games at a high level, and defensively I think we were as in tune as we could have been," said Kevin Garnett, who chipped in 10 points and eight rebounds for the Celtics. "Our biggest keys are starting games, finishing games, finishing quarters off, being consistent with defense, and I thought we did that. I guess that's the value of good defense and coming out hard, coming out strong, setting the tone early."

Boston increased its lead to 33 in the fourth quarter as the second unit came into the game, allowing the starters to rest the entire fourth quarter.

"It's good in the long run," Pierce said of the rest. "The more we sit and win games, then it's beneficial to us. It's still a long season, we plan on playing five more months, six more months. It's definitely going to be beneficial in the long run. If we continue to play well like that, I don't mind it at all."

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