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Minnesota at Boston

Pierce's long-range accuracy helps Celtics cruise

CBSSports.com wire reports
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BOSTON -- Paul Pierce wasn't going to let the Boston Celtics lose to another struggling team.

Pierce scored 29 points, tying a franchise record by hitting all six of his 3-point attempts, and the Celtics beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 122-104 on Sunday night.

One game after snapping an 11-game winning streak with a loss to the Philadelphia 76ers, the No. 14 team in the Eastern Conference, the Celtics reached a season-high in points against the worst team in the West.

"We were ticked [off] and we were mad," Kevin Garnett said. "It definitely is fuel for the next practice, if not the next game. You can't win them all, but you can apply those things to the game, and I thought we came out focused tonight."

The Celtics opened a 15-point lead in the first quarter before Pierce scored 14 points in the second, hitting back-to-back 3-pointers to open a 25-point halftime advantage. Pierce, who has averaged 22.7 points over his 12-year career, hadn't topped that total in 10 games since Thanksgiving.

"I really got tired of Kevin yelling at me," Pierce said, before dropping his voice in an imitation of Garnett and yelling, "What's going on with you? Pick it up!"

Garnett laughed and said, "It wasn't a yell. It was a real strong, stern voice."

"Nothing that 'The Truth' can't handle, though," he said. "Sometimes that's what teammates are for."

Celtics coach Doc Rivers said he also told Pierce, who scored only nine points in Friday night's loss to the Sixers, to get back to his instincts instead of trying to figure out ways to get everyone involved. The team watched film after the loss -- a rarity during the regular season -- and Rivers put together a sequence of all the uncontested shots.

"There were a lot of them," Rivers said. "It was good for them to see."

Pierce matched the franchise record for 3-pointers without a miss set by Danny Ainge and matched by Walter McCarty.

Kendrick Perkins had 14 points to go with 11 rebounds, and Rajon Rondo had 13 points and 15 assists as the Celtics beat the Timberwolves for the sixth consecutive time since acquiring Garnett in an unprecedented 7-for-1 deal during the summer of 2007.

Jonny Flynn scored 21 points and former Celtic Al Jefferson had 20 points and 11 rebounds. Kevin Love added 15 points and 11 boards for the Timberwolves, who lost for the sixth time in eight games.

"I hope it teaches us a lesson that we were lethargic in the first half. We didn't play with any energy," Timberwolves coach Kurt Rambis said. "It's very, very tough to try and come back in a ballgame. That's why you don't want to get down to anybody, especially a quality team like the Celtics."

Rivers began pulling his starters after the Celtics opened a 26-point lead late in the third quarter. But he sent them back in midway through the fourth when Minnesota scored nine straight points to cut the deficit to 13 points, 101-88. The Timberwolves never got any closer than 12, and the starters returned to the bench after Pierce hit his final 3-pointer with 3:23 left to make it a 19-point lead.

Tony Allen, in his sixth game since missing 20 with a sore right ankle, had a season-high 15 points, including the highlight of the night.

Early in the second quarter, Eddie House poked the ball away from Ramon Sessions and saved it from going out of bounds with a behind-the-back pass that sent Allen in for a dunk to start a three-point play.

Notes

  • With his first point of the game, Ray Allen moved past Tom Chambers and into 32nd place on the NBA's career scoring list.
  • Minnesota fell to 3-12 on the road - worst in the Western Conference.
  • Timberwolves F Ryan Gomes missed his fourth straight game with a sprained left ankle.
  • The game was played with two referees because the snowstorm prevented Leon Wood from making it to Boston.
  • The Celtics recalled G Lester Hudson from Maine of the NBDL.
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Rajon Rondo attacks the rim for two of his 13 points to go along with his 15 assists.  (Getty Images)
Rajon Rondo attacks the rim for two of his 13 points to go along with his 15 assists. (Getty Images)

Scoreboard
Minnesota (5-23) 19223132104
Boston (21-5) «34322630122
MIN:J. Flynn 21 Pts
MIN:A. Jefferson 11 Reb
MIN:D. Wilkins 6 Ast
BOS:P. Pierce 29 Pts
BOS:K. Perkins 11 Reb
BOS:R. Rondo 15 Ast
Players of the Game
BostonMinnesota

P. Pierce

A. Jefferson
PtsRebsAstPtsRebsAst
297420110
Minnesota
D. Wilkins, SG387-152-566118
A. Jefferson, C349-182-2110320
J. Flynn, PG318-154-422321
C. Brewer, SF313-102-23238
K. Love, PF285-84-4115415
W. Ellington, SG171-51-10013
R. Sessions, PG173-85-701111
R. Hollins, C162-24-44058
N. Jawai, PF140-20-01120
S. Pavlovic, SG110-50-02110
O. Pecherov, C40-20-01000
M. Blount, CDid Not Play
R. Gomes, SFDid Not Play
B. Cardinal, PFDid Not Play
J. Hart, PGDid Not Play
Totals 38-9024-29411824104
 42.2%82.8% 
Boston
P. Pierce, SF348-147-774329
R. Rondo, PG336-121-2215213
R. Allen, SG308-151-211520
K. Perkins, C307-100-0113314
K. Garnett, PF284-52-281010
T. Allen, SG255-85-763415
R. Wallace, PF203-64-441310
S. Williams, PF140-20-24130
E. House, SG121-65-50407
B. Scalabrine, C80-10-01110
L. Hudson, SG30-14-40014
J. Giddens, SG30-10-01000
B. Walker, SGDid Not Play
M. Daniels, SGDid Not Play
G. Davis, PFDid Not Play
Totals 42-8129-35453425122
 51.9%82.9% 
Other Games
NO 92 Final
Tor 98
Den 96 Final
Mem 102
LAL 93 Final
Det 81
Port 102 Final
Mia 95
Cle 95 Final
Dal 102
Char 94 Final
NY 98