7:30 PM ET, March 9, 2012
TD Garden, Boston, MA
BOSTON -- The Boston Celtics had a little fun after this game.
In fact, they probably could have been joking around earlier in the game, too.
When it was over, the Celtics were all smiles. Rajon Rondo, who recently has avoided talking to the media, said he was answering questions for reserves Sasha Pavlovic and Avery Bradley before walking over to Pierce during his postgame news conference and saying, "P. I got this. Head home."
The win came after Boston lost by 32 points at Atlantic Division-leading Philadelphia on Wednesday, its worst setback in more than six years.
"Not a lot to talk about," said a smiling Pierce as he walked over to the media, before Rondo took over. "It was just a good response, especially with the way we played down in Philadelphia. A good way for us to head out west."
The Celtics led by 35 points at halftime and 34 after three quarters.
Kevin Garnett grabbed seven defensive rebounds to move into second place on the NBA's career list with defensive rebounds since the league started keeping the stat in 1973-74.
LaMarcus Aldridge led the Trail Blazers with 22 points. Portland has dropped five of six games and played the second of seven straight away from the Rose Garden.
It was the Trail Blazers' eighth consecutive loss in Boston. They've lost 12 of their past 13 overall against the Celtics.
"That was an unprofessional approach," Portland coach Nate McMillan said. "There was no basketball being played out there tonight. We can play harder than that. We can play better than that."
Boston begins a season-high, eight-game road trip at the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday afternoon.
"It's good to get away with one like this," Pierce said.
Boston coach Doc Rivers even teased Pierce as he headed out the locker room door because he hadn't packed yet.
"I'm a veteran," Pierce said, laughing. "I know how. I'll be ready."
The Celtics opened a double-digit lead on Rondo's driving layup with 39 seconds left in the first quarter and didn't stop there.
They led 27-17 after one, scored the initial 16 points of the second quarter and built their lead to 37 points (60-23) on Allen's two free throws late in the second before holding a 65-30 halftime edge.
Boston shot 60 percent (27 of 45) in the first half, and Portland just hit 36.4 percent (12 of 33).
The Trail Blazers had a season-low for points in the half and committed 17 turnovers in the opening half. They had a season-high 28 for the game.
Boston, coming off the 103-71 loss at Philadelphia, trailed 10-8 early before taking charge.
On Friday, the Celtics sent the Trail Blazers to the ugly defeat. Boston led 88-54 after three quarters before Portland's bench outscored the Celtics' reserves in the final quarter.
"This isn't the first time this year. We have to bounce back, we have to react," Portland guard Nicolas Batum said of the upcoming trade deadline. "We have to stop talking and act like a man -- have some pride. We are talking too much, we're thinking too much. We have to just go out and play."
At times during the first half, Portland threw numerous lazy passes that led to 10 opening-half steals by Boston and, on one possession, Marcus Camby lofted an alley-oop pass when no one was near the basket.
The ball hit the backboard, went directly to Boston reserve center Greg Stiemsma, who fired it downcourt for an easy fastbreak basket.
In the second quarter, Boston had a pair of layups where a Trail Blazers' player made a futile attempt to block the shot, leading to 3-point plays. Pavlovic had the first 1:02 into the quarter when he drove by Batum, who made a weak slap at his arm.
Later, Pierce missed a layup, but tipped in his own shot and was fouled on the play by Kurt Thomas, who appeared to be standing behind him before making a brief effort that drew the foul. Pierce's 3-point play gave Boston a 56-23 lead.
In the second half, it didn't get much better for the Trail Blazers. Pierce made a 3 from the wing, moving Boston's lead to 79-38 with 6 1/2 minutes left in the quarter.
Boston's starters were done for the night after three quarters.
Portland cut it to 96-78 with 3½ minutes left in the game.
Boston was without reserves Mickael Pietrus (sore right knee) and Chris Wilcox (personal reasons). Rivers said before the game he hopes to have Pietrus back for Sunday's game. "It just keeps swelling up," Rivers said of Pietrus' knee. ... The Celtics coach praised Portland C/F Camby before the game. "If you ask some people they might say, 'Wow, is he still playing?'" Rivers said of Camby, in his 15th season. "He's not just still paying, he's playing well, too." ... Pierce played his 1,000 game, third most in club history behind Parish (1,106) and John Havlicek (1,270). ... The Celtics wore their green jerseys with gold trim, usually worn on St. Patrick's Day, but they'll be away next weekend. ... Portland was missing rookie G Elliot Williams, out with a dislocated left shoulder.
Team Stat Comparison
|FGM-FGA||31-72 (.431)||42-88 (.477)|
|3PM-3PA||6-15 (.400)||8-18 (.444)|
|FTM-FTA||18-23 (.783)||12-17 (.706)|
|Fast Break Points||7||21|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||19 (0/0)||22 (1/0)|