Big 3 lead Celtics by Cavaliers
Published 4:18 am Wednesday, October 28, 2009
CLEVELAND — The reunited Big Three — and Rasheed — are one up on the Big Two.
Paul Pierce scored 23 points, Ray Allen 16 and Kevin Garnett 13 in his first regular-season game since last March as the Boston Celtics beat Cleveland 95-89 on Tuesday night in the NBA season opener, spoiling the hyped debut of the Cavaliers with LeBron James and Shaquille O’Neal.
Pierce made two crucial jumpers and two free throws in the final 1:03 to pace the Celtics, whose drive to a second straight title was derailed when Garnett injured his knee late last season. Rasheed Wallace, added as a free agent during the offseason, had 12 points.
James scored 38 and O’Neal added 10 points and 10 rebounds for the Cavaliers, who won their first 23 home games last season but are already 0-1 on their floor. Boston’s road win also snapped a 16-game winning streak at home in games between the Celtics and Cavaliers.
Because of the 14-time All-Star O’Neal’s addition, the Cavaliers have gotten the bulk of the preseason attention and are a trendy pick to win their first NBA title.
The Celtics may have other plans.
Garnett looked fully recovered from surgery to repair his right knee.