BOSTON -- Kevin Garnett was an impressed spectator while he was still on the court.
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.
"That was beautiful to watch," Garnett said of the scoring by dominance by Pierce and teammate Ray Allen one quarter earlier. "To watch those two play and build the lead up while they were in there."
Allen, who finished with 20 points, scored nine of Boston's last 13 in the second as it opened a 50-35 halftime edge.
Pierce then hit five 3-pointers after intermission, building the Celtics' lead to 88-61 after three quarters.
"When Ray and Paul are making shots like that, that's pretty darn good," Boston coach Doc Rivers said.
Garnett, who missed the final 25 games of the regular season and the playoffs with strained ligaments in his right knee, added 16 points. 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.
"It's an early season test for us and we didn't respond real well," Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro said. "In the third they just jumped on us. We weren't physical enough. They're difficult to contend with."
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 a minute later, but it was the last time they'd be within single digits.
That's when Allen took over, using screens to get open and hitting all three field goal attempts. He was also 4 for 4 from the free throw line.
Boston looked determined to put away the Bulls quickly in the second half, with Pierce nailing his five 3s in the third quarter to make it a blowout.
"When you're a scorer and you make a couple, you feel like you're on fire," Pierce said.
Garnett heard Pierce say it was time to break open the game, then watched his teammate personally do it.
"Paul said in the locker room, 'Let's open the third quarter big and stay aggressive,"' Garnett said.
Chicago shot fairly well in the third, hitting 12 of 22 attempts, but it was no match for Boston's 15 of 20.
"That's when they took off," Chicago guard Derrick Rose said. "They were hitting every shot."
|Paul Pierce scores 22 points as the Celtics improve to 3-0 on the season. (AP)|
|Boston (3-0) «||21||29||38||30||118|
|CHI:J. Noah 16 Pts
CHI:J. Noah 10 Reb
CHI:K. Hinrich 7 Ast
|BOS:P. Pierce 22 Pts
BOS:S. Williams 10 Reb
BOS:R. Rondo 16 Ast
|Players of the Game|
|J. Salmons, SF||32||2-14||3-3||2||1||2||8|
|J. Noah, PF||28||7-10||2-2||10||4||2||16|
|T. Thomas, PF||24||3-7||4-9||8||0||3||10|
|D. Rose, PG||24||4-8||2-3||0||2||1||10|
|L. Deng, SF||20||2-8||0-0||5||0||4||4|
|K. Hinrich, PG||27||4-9||2-2||0||7||4||10|
|T. Gibson, PF||23||3-3||0-0||2||2||5||6|
|B. Miller, C||23||2-5||5-6||5||2||2||9|
|J. Pargo, PG||22||6-12||0-0||1||0||0||13|
|J. Johnson, PF||11||1-4||2-2||3||0||2||4|
|L. Hunter, SG||7||0-2||0-0||0||1||2||0|
|D. Byars, SF||Did Not Play|
|A. Gray, C||Did Not Play|
|J. James, PF||Did Not Play|
|Complete Box Score|
|P. Pierce, SG||31||8-12||1-1||8||4||0||22|
|R. Rondo, PG||30||1-2||0-0||8||16||3||2|
|K. Garnett, PF||25||7-13||2-3||4||2||3||16|
|R. Allen, SG||23||7-9||4-4||1||2||3||20|
|K. Perkins, C||19||4-5||1-2||4||0||4||9|
|R. Wallace, PF||26||2-9||2-2||3||2||3||7|
|M. Daniels, SG||25||2-5||3-4||2||4||0||7|
|S. Williams, PF||24||2-4||6-6||10||2||4||10|
|E. House, SG||22||9-13||0-0||2||1||2||22|
|L. Hudson, SG||10||1-2||1-2||0||0||0||3|
|J. Giddens, SG||4||0-0||0-0||0||0||0||0|
|B. Scalabrine, PF||Did Not Play|
|T. Allen, SG||Did Not Play|
|B. Walker, SG||Did Not Play|
|G. Davis, PF||Did Not Play|
|Complete Box Score|