Tuesday, December 02, 2008
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Pierce's 17 points in 3rd help Boston pull away.

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[December 02, 2008]  BOSTON (AP) -- Paul Pierce scored 17 of his 24 points in the third quarter to lead the Boston Celtics to their ninth straight win, 107-88, over the Orlando Magic on Monday night.

Ray Allen added 21 points, Rajon Rondo had 16 points with 12 assists and Kevin Garnett scored 15 points for the Celtics (17-2) in a win over a top Eastern Conference rival.

Rashard Lewis paced Orlando (13-5) with 30 points, Hedo Turkoglu 19 and Dwight Howard, the league's rebounding leader, had 14 points with 15 boards.

RestaurantThe Magic had their four-game winning streak snapped. Orlando had won six straight road games, one short of its club record set at the start of last season.

Pierce, who scored just five points in the opening half, carried the Celtics from a 2-point halftime edge to a 12-point lead entering the final quarter.

Similar to the opening minutes of the game, when Boston broke ahead by 10 points, the Celtics controlled the tempo and appeared to run whatever they wanted on offense.

Pierce, isolating against Turkoglu on a number of trips, scored 15 of Boston's 20 points as the Celtics pulled ahead 68-57.

When Pierce was contained driving the lane, he fired a pass to Ray Allen, who nailed a 3-pointer from the top, making it 71-57.

Boston, which held Orlando to 39 percent shooting in the first three quarters, led 77-65 at the break.

Eddie House's 3-pointer made it 92-75 with 6:50 to play, and Boston cruised the rest of the way, mixing starters with reserves.


In the opening half, the Celtics shot 60 percent and led 28-18 after one. They opened it to 37-22 on Glen Davis' jumper before the Magic scored 10 straight points to get back into it.

The Magic were without their starting backcourt for the second consecutive game. Jameer Nelson was sidelined for his fourth straight with a hip flexor and Mickael Pietrus is on injured reserve with a torn right thumb ligament.

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Notes: Referee Bob Delaney called four technicals in the first half, whistling them on Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy, Boston G Rondo, and two and an ejection against Celtics G Sam Cassell. There were eight called overall. ... Boston coach Doc Rivers was named Eastern Conference's coach of the month for the season's first month, making him just the third to win the conference's award for three straight months. He won the last two at the end of last season. The other two were: Flip Saunders with Detroit in 2005-06 and Larry Brown with Philadelphia in 2002-03. "It just means a lot of people did a lot of good things and a lot of your players are hitting their jump shots," he said before the game.

[Associated Press]

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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