Celtics Zing Hornets, 89-77

Paul Pierce more than made up for a thumb injury that sidelined Ray Allen and the foul trouble that limited Kevin Garnett.

Pierce scored 30 points and the Boston Celtics spoiled Chris Paul's return from injury with an 89-77 victory over the New Orleans Hornets on Wednesday night.

"Night in and night out I don't know what the team is going to need from me," Pierce said. "Obviously my scoring was needed, so I had to step up. I just feel out the game, see how it's going and play from there."

Limited to less than 30 minutes after committing his fourth foul in the third quarter, Garnett still finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Eddie House scored eight of his 12 points in the final period to help Boston pull away for its eighth straight road win.

Paul, who'd missed four games with a right groin strain, finished with 13 points and five assists in 32 minutes. He was disappointed with the loss, but satisfied with how he felt physically after the game.

"I was a little nervous about what I could do," Paul said. "It's one thing in practice, playing two-on-two, but it's another thing playing at game speed. But I'm excited because now I feel good to go."

Allen wore a wrap on his right hand in the locker room following the game, but said he'd try to play Thursday night in Dallas.

David West had 15 points and Hilton Armstrong 14 for New Orleans.

With the game tied at 64 through three quarters, Paul rested during the first 5 minutes of the fourth, when House made two 3-pointers and scored eight points to help the Celtics surge to a 79-67 lead.

"When it's the fourth quarter you've got to make them count. I got the looks and made sure I took my time with it and knocked them down," House said. "If you want to pick when you're going to knock your shot down, you'd rather knock it down in the fourth quarter."

Rajon Rondo added a difficult floater in the lane and fed a bounce pass to Leon Powe for a dunk during the spurt.

"Rondo does a great job finding open guys, and when he wasn't finding open guys he was finishing at the rim," Pierce said.

Paul returned with about 7 minutes to go, but it was too late. Rasual Butler's 3-pointer got New Orleans within eight points with a little over 6 minutes left, but Pierce fed Powe for another dunk to get Boston's lead back to 10, Garnett added a jumper and the Celtics led by double digits the rest of the way.

Powe finished with 11 points for Boston and Rondo had 11 assists.

This program aired on February 12, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.