Paul Pierce scored 22 points and Kevin Garnett added 16 and eight rebounds before the Celtics starters sat out the fourth quarter on Friday night in a 116-93 victory over the Chicago Bulls, Boston's seventh consecutive win.
"It's good to get the rest," Pierce said in an abbreviated postgame media session before the Celtics boarded a plane to play the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday night. "We're trying to get out of here."
Kendrick Perkins had 14 points and 11 rebounds for Boston, which started the fourth quarter with a lineup of Brown, Brian Scalabrine, Eddie House, James Posey and Tony Allen. Cassell, who signed this week, did not dress for the game or he would surely have been on the court, too.
"He and P.J. are going to be very big for us," said Garnett, who sang the Peaches and Herb hit Reunited to commemorate Cassell's arrival; the two were teammates with Minnesota from 2003-05.
"It's not just for the basketball aspects, but what they bring as far as experience," Garnett said. "(They're) two of the most poised people I know."
Boston, which won its 10th consecutive home game, led by 12 after one and 20 after two as the Bulls showed the wear of traveling from Chicago after Thursday night's victory over the Cavaliers. It was 88-68 late in the third when the Celtics subs opened a 26-point advantage.
"We were fatigued and they beat us up on the glass," Bulls interim coach Jim Boylan said. "We just didn't seem to have an answer for them."
Chicago took advantage of sloppy passing by the Boston reserves to score seven straight points, and Celtics coach Doc Rivers put point guard Rajon Rondo back in. Brown, who was signed off the street last week, checked in with 1:24 left in the third quarter for his Celtics debut.
He received a standing ovation, and another big cheer from the crowd when he converted a three-point play with 9:23 left. He got a breather after he grabbed six rebounds in six minutes.
"All of the sudden you're going at NBA speed," Rivers said. "It's a whole different speed than those YMCA pickup games."
Even against the second and third string, though, Chicago never threatened.
Ben Gordon scored 20, and Joakim Noah had 10 points and seven rebounds for the Bulls, who missed a chance to move into a tie with New Jersey for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
"If we get into the eighth spot, it's going to be fun," Bulls guard Larry Hughes said. "But we have to win some games and we can't rely, coming into the last week of the season, on teams losing."
The Celtics had 20 foul shots in the second quarter to three for Chicago, leading Bulls forward Drew Gooden to complain and draw two technicals. He had three points in 15 minutes.
Boylan was called for a technical early in the third quarter, after the Bulls fell behind 74-49. And Hughes was called for a T with 1:13 left in the third quarter.
- Garnett moved seven points short of 20,000 for his career. He would be 32nd player in NBA history to reach the milestone.
- Rivers, a Chicagoan, predicted that the Bulls would make the playoffs. "They could be our first-round opponent," he said before the game. "You can't take any of these teams lightly."
- Scalabrine shaved his head for a charity, St. Baldrick's Foundation, that raises money for childhood cancer research.
- Both Rivers and Boylan went to Marquette.
- Glen "Big Baby" Davis took out several seats at the scorer's table pursuing a loose ball in the final minutes.