NBA: Celtics 92, Bobcats 59
BOSTON ó Kevin Garnett scored 10 points with seven rebounds over 26 easy minutes in his return to the Boston parquet on Wednesday night and the Celtics held Charlotte to a franchise-low in scoring and coasted to a 92-59 victory in their home opener.
Ray Allen scored 18 points and was the only Boston starter to play in the fourth quarter as the Celtics followed their opening-night victory over Cleveland with a blowout of the Bobcats. Paul Pierce scored 15, Rajon Rondo scored 10 with 11 assists and Rasheed Wallace came off the bench with three 3-pointers.
Shelden Williams had 12 points and nine rebounds as a reserve.
Gerald Wallace had 10 points and 12 rebounds ó the only Bobcat to reach double digits in scoring.
Garnett, who missed 25 regular-season games and the playoffs last year because of strained ligaments in his right knee, went through his usual pregame routine, pumping his arms and banging his head against the basket support. He hopped around the court, pointing at the crowd, drawing cheers from the fans who believe that his injury was the only thing that kept Boston from winning back-to-back NBA championships.
Pierce took the microphone before the opening tip, alluding to last season’s disappointment and promising something better in 2009-10.
“We expect great things. You see up there, there’s only 17 of them,” he said, pointing to the championship banners than hang from the Boston Garden rafters. “I think we need another one.”
Other than that, the biggest cheers were for the scores showing the Yankees were losing Game 1 of the World Series. (LeBron James and Co.’s loss to Toronto was also a crowd-pleaser.)
One day after beating the Cavaliers to snap an 11-game losing streak in Cleveland and make an early statement about the balance of power in the Eastern Conference, the Celtics returned to Boston. The home opener had fewer subplots, and even less drama.
Boston scored the first eight points of the game, then piled it on with six 3-pointers in the second quarter to take an 11-point halftime lead. The Celtics scored the first 15 points of the second half and led by as many as 30 in the third quarter.
Only Raymond Felton’s buzzer-beater kept the Bobcats from equaling a franchise-low 8 points in the third quarter.
NOTES: Gerald Henderson Jr. started his NBA career in the same place his father, Gerald Sr., started his. The elder Henderson, who spent the first five years of his 13-year career in Boston, was in the stands. … Felton got hit in the mouth in the second quarter and needed 15 stitches, but he returned in the second half. … Patriots LB Junior Seau and WR Wes Welker sat courtside. … Technical fouls were distributed freely: Pierce and Kendrick Perkins each had one for Boston, and Wallace and Tyson Chandler picked them up for the Bobcats.