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Paul Pierce scored 20 of his 22 points in the third quarter, and the Boston Celtics rolled to a 118-90 victory over the Chicago Bulls on Friday night in the teams' first matchup since last spring's thrilling seven-game playoff series.
Ray Allen had 20 points for Boston and Kevin Garnett, who missed the final 25 games of the regular season and the playoffs with strained ligaments in his right knee, added 16. Rajon Rondo had 16 assists and eight rebounds as the Celtics improved to 3-0.
Eddie House came off the Boston bench and was shooting freely in garbage time, finishing with 22 points.
John Salmons led the Bulls (1-1) with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Jannero Pargo had 13 points, and Tyrus Thomas and Joakim Noah 10 apiece.
Unlike their opening-round playoff series that saw the teams play a record seven overtime quarters in four games and had one game decided in the closing seconds, Boston broke this one open early in the first half.
The Celtics pushed their lead to double digits for the first time at 29-19 on Sheldon Williams' fast-break layup early in the second quarter.
The Bulls closed the deficit to nine points on Noah's basket less than minute later, but it was the last time they'd be within single digits. Allen scored nine of Boston's last 13 points in the quarter, pushing the lead to 50-35 at halftime.
Boston looked determined to put away the Bulls quickly in the second half, with Pierce nailing five 3-pointers in the third quarter to extend the lead to 88-61.
Chicago shot fairly well in the third, hitting 12 of 22 attempts, but it was no match for Boston's 15 of 20.
This program aired on October 31, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.
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