Garnett, Pierce reach milestones in Celtics’ win
Boston — Kevin Garnett received his standing ovation in the second quarter, then joined Boston’s fans when they returned to their feet for Paul Pierce.
Garnett and Pierce added to their growing list of accomplishments with significant moves up the list of NBA career scoring leaders Wednesday in the Celtics’ 112-88 rout of the Toronto Raptors.
Garnett passed Jerry West for 15th all-time and Pierce joined him in the top 20 scorers in league history when he passed Charles Barkley for No. 20.
“The joke around here is that every two days or something we’re making history,” Garnett said. “It’s not a bad joke to be a part of.”
Not at all.
Garnett needed four points to pass West (25,192 points) and finished with 12. Pierce finished with 15 points after entering the game nine points shy of tying Barkley (23,757) for 20th.
Garnett hit a bank shot with 10:03 left in the second quarter and received a standing ovation when his milestone was announced during a stoppage a few minutes later. Boston fans rose again in the third to recognize Pierce, who responded with a salute back to the crowd.
“When you pass a Barkley and a West, those names — that’s impressive,” Boston coach Doc Rivers said.
Both Garnett and Pierce were modest after the game, although Pierce did slip in a shot at some of the pointed comments the outspoken Barkley has made as a broadcaster.
“He always talks a lot of smack about us, so I’m happy it was him,” Pierce said with a slight grin.
It was a short night for Boston’s 30-something stars, who were resting comfortably on the bench through the fourth quarter as their teammates finished off the Raptors.
It was also a complete turnaround from Boston’s performance the night before, when Pierce sat out and Boston stumbled to a 100-74 loss at Charlotte, which has the worst record in the NBA.
“Whether I played or not, there was no way we come out with the type of effort that we showed. That just wasn’t our team. I was looking around, wondering where I was at,” Pierce said. “That wasn’t a team I recognized.
The Celtics looked much more familiar Wednesday.
Jeff Green scored 20 to lead the Celtics, who ended a two-game slide and won their 10th straight at home. Jason Terry and Jordan Crawford added 12 points apiece, while Brandon Bass and Avery Bradley both scored 11 for Boston.
Rudy Gay had 19 points and DeMar DeRozan added 17 points for the Raptors, who have lost seven of nine. Terrence Ross scored 13 for the Raptors, who got within four points before Boston blew it open in the third quarter.
“We had a four-point game in the third quarter and then we let frustration set in. We haven’t been getting calls all year. We let frustration set in and we can’t let that happen,” Toronto coach Dwane Casey said. “When a team turns it up like that we’ve got to turn up our fight and get back into them. I thought that was the difference in the game. When they turned up the heat, we didn’t respond.”
After falling behind by 13 early in the third, Toronto scored nine straight to get right back in it. DeRozan scored 12 in the period, including a three-point play with 6:04 left that pulled Toronto within 60-56. Pierce answered with four straight to start Boston on a 14-4 run.
Bradley hit a jumper to put Boston up 66-58, then stole a pass and took it in for a layup.
Terry added a 3-pointer to end the run, giving Boston a 74-60 lead. The Celtics closed the period on a 21-6 run, leading 81-62 entering the fourth and making it a short night for Garnett.
Notes: The Celtics outscored the Raptors 28-18 in the second quarter and led 49-40 at halftime. ... The Raptors announced Wednesday that forward Andrea Bargnani was expected to miss the rest of the season with an injury to his right elbow. ... Gay was a game-time decision after missing a game with a stiff back. ... Toronto’s Sebastian Telfair received was ejected after the third quarter with his second technical of the game.
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