"Not having a great player out there, you definitely miss him," point guard Rajon Rondo said after Boston beat the New York Knicks 110-101 on Tuesday night while Garnett served a one-game suspension. "But we tried to go out tonight and get the ball moving and that's what we did. ... A lot of guys got shots."
Starting in place of Garnett, Brian Scalabrine hit a 3-pointer with 1:14 left to help Boston recover after its 15-point, fourth-quarter lead was trimmed to four. Paul Pierce scored 22 with eight rebounds, Kendrick Perkins had 16 points and eight rebounds and Rondo had 15 points, eight boards and seven assists.
"It was kind of a different atmosphere in the locker room, a little bit quieter than usual," Pierce said. "Thank goodness we were able to take up the slack for one game and get the win."
Wilson Chandler scored 23, and Zach Randolph had 18 points and eight rebounds for New York. The Knicks tried to muscle their way closer in the Atlantic Division -- they were called for three technicals -- but instead lost to Boston for the seventh consecutive time.
"I'm just real curious to see what those guys will be saying if we weren't in a basketball league and didn't have referees," Knicks forward Quentin Richardson said. "I mean, it wouldn't be the same story. I mean, they are the world champions and rah, rah, rah, but the tough part I don't factor.
"I come from a neighborhood where you can say what you want to say, but until you do something, it don't mean nothing."
Garnett did not miss a game last season until Jan. 27, when he began a nine-game stint in street clothes because of an abdominal strain; the Celtics were 9-2 in all without him during their NBA championship run. But he was suspended for throwing a punch at Milwaukee's Andrew Bogut on Saturday and forced to sit out one game.
Celtics coach Doc Rivers decided to start Scalabrine, the little-used big man, rather than pull Leon Powe off the second unit and upset his rotation. Powe scored 14 with seven rebounds off the bench and played most of the fourth quarter, but Scalabrine came back in with 1:50 left after the Knicks used runs of 11-2 and 5-0 to get to 103-99.
Pierce hit one of two free throws to make it a five-point game, then Scalabrine hit a 3-pointer from the left corner. Scalabrine also hit back-to-back long jumpers in the third, one of them a 3-pointer, for his only other baskets of the night.
"He played good defense and hit two big 3s and I just feel good for him," Celtics guard Eddie House said. "He got his number called and he was ready. He was a true professional."
- A pushing match between Powe and Randolph led to a double technical in the second quarter.
- Duke University president Richard Brodhead was in the crowd.
- The Celtics improved to 7-1 when trailing after one quarter.
- Boston had a 24-14 rebounding edge in the first half and a 34-12 edge on points in the paint.
- The Celtics were tied for fifth-fewest with 10 different starting lineups last season.
- Nate Robinson and Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni picked up technicals in the third.
- Pierce didn't play in the second quarter.
- Ray Allen, who scored 15, played the first 33 minutes before leaving for the first time with Boston ahead 77-68.