for this game

Pierce, Celtics tie franchise record at home

Dec 15, 2007 - 4:57 AM By Mike Petraglia PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

BOSTON (Ticker) -- The Milwaukee Bucks couldn't keep the Boston Celtics from tying a franchise record at home.

Sharp-shooting Paul Pierce scored a season-high 32 points to lift the Celtics to their franchise record-tying 12th straight home win, 104-82, at TD Banknorth Garden on Friday night.

Kevin Garnett added 15 points and seven rebounds for Boston, which matched the 1984-85 club for the most home victories to start a season in franchise history. That team finished 35-6 at the old Boston Garden before losing to the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Finals.

Rajon Rondo added 17 points to help pick up the scoring slack for the injured Ray Allen, who missed his first game with a sore right ankle, for the Celtics, who also improved their overall\ record to an NBA-best 19-2.

"I am not trying to be smart or anything, but I am not even aware of any of the records," Garnett said. "I mean every game is critical for us, and we're preparing for each team like it is our last game."

Tony Allen took Allen's place in the starting lineup and helped hold Milwaukee's leading scorer Michael Redd to a season-low seven points on 3-of-9 shooting from the field.

"He was awesome, just terrific," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said of Allen's replacement. "Defensively, (Allen) was as good as you want. I mean, he was physical, aggressive. Mike Redd's an All-Star. That's a tough matchup.

"Someone looks at the stat sheet, they're going to see (3-of-9). And if you had a game ball, you could probably give it to Tony Allen tonight."

"(Defending) Michael Redd was huge, TA (Allen) was huge for us in there and he was coming to the bench asking us about his offense, but we were praising him more for his defense, man, he did a great job," Garnett added.

The Bucks, who upset the Orlando Magic on the road on Wednesday, became the latest team to come close - but not close enough - against the new "Green Machine" on the parquet.

The Celtics built a 25-21 lead after the first quarter, thanks in large part to sharp shooting from the field. Boston shot 58 percent from the floor in the first quarter, making 10 of its first 17 shots as Garnett led the way with 10 points.

But trailing, 34-32, the Bucks went on a 10-3 run to take their biggest lead, 42-37, on Jake Voskuhl's layup with 3:22 remaining in the second quarter. But the Celtics scored the next nine points, including four by Pierce, to reclaim the lead before halftime.

Pierce helped the Celtics pull away in the third quarter as he drilled four 3-pointers, accounting for all 12 of his points in the period. Boston outscored Milwaukee, 32-15, to take a 78-59 lead into the final 12 minutes.

"Well, I wanted to be more aggressive that I have been, especially with Ray Allen out," Pierce said. "I just (tried) to pick up some slack and tried to get us going, but regardless what the offense does, we are going to turn games around because of our defense.

"I thought we made a great defensive run in the third quarter, we brought the field-goal percentage down, we made them turn it over, and that's what opened up the game."

Another key to the decisive third quarter was the turnover battle. Boston forced Milwaukee into seven turnovers while committing only one itself and outscored the Bucks, 12-0, off those miscues to take command of the game.

"We got out scored 9-2 to finish the second quarter," Bucks coach Larry Krystkowiak said. "And then we started the third quarter, obviously. It was rough as well. I think it was a 20-, 22-point eight-minute period.

"We had seven turnovers in the third quarter. We turned the ball over too much. And they came out with a lot more energy."

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