CLEVELAND, Oct. 30 (Ticker)
-- Paul Pierce
and Antoine Walker
made sure John Lucas' coaching debut with the Cleveland Cavaliers was one to forget.
Antoine Walker missed his first five shots but heated up to score 23 points. AP Photo
NBA.comTV highlights from Celtics-Cavs:
Pierce scored 29 points and Walker added 23 as the Boston Celtics rolled to a 108-89 rout of the Cavaliers in the season opener for both teams.
The Celtics, who went 24-24 last season after Jim O'Brien replaced coach Rick Pitino, took control with a 16-2 run that opened a 33-19 lead after the first quarter.
Second to Philadelphia's Allen Iverson
with eight 40-point games last season, Pierce made 12-of-20 shots from the field in just 28 minutes. He knocked down four consecutive jumpers late in the first quarter that seemed to deflate the Cavaliers.
After averaging 29.6 points in three games against Cleveland last season, Walker was just 6-of-20 from the floor on Tuesday but made 7-of-8 free throws and added eight rebounds and seven assists.
"We stayed with our game plan and never looked back," Pierce said. "After the score was tied 17-17, the key to our 16-4 run was that we started playing better defense. During a timeout, coach said we weren't challenging shots. We started getting more aggressive, grabbing rebounds and using our speed to our advantage. We have to utilize what we have on this team. We're not a big team."
During the run, the Cavaliers went more than two minutes without a field goal while committing three turnovers.
Things got worse for Cleveland in the second quarter. Pierce made another jumper to give Boston a 35-16 lead and the Cavs did not make consecutive baskets until midway through the period. By then, they were down, 48-27.
"We didn't do anything different than our three previous preseason games with Cleveland," O'Brien said. "We're just happy that the season started with a win on the road against a basketball team that beat us last week. I was happy we came in that third quarter with defensive intensity."
Pierce and Walker, who accounted for 51 percent of Boston's offense last season, combined for 37 points by halftime and 52 after three periods. Both players rested in the fourth after the Celtics built a 92-59 lead.
"When I took out Walker, Pierce, (Eric) Williams and (Kenny) Anderson, I really did not imagine that they were not going to go back in the game. It was wishful thinking on my part," O'Brien said. "They ended up not having to go back in the game, which was good."
Lucas, who was 136-171 in four seasons with San Antonio and Philadelphia, saw his Cavs' debut spoiled early as Cleveland fell apart on defense and never recovered.
"That was an ugly game on our part," Lucas said. "They took us out of our offense early and they were a lot quicker than we were. We never seemed to recover. We shot too many outside shots. We got to get into the inside and we didn't have anything on the inside. It was just a bad night, (but) it was only one loss."
Perimeter shooters Trajan Langdon
and Wesley Person
led the Cavaliers with 13 points apiece as they suffered their second straight home loss to the Celtics.
Cleveland outscored Boston, 30-16, in the fourth quarter to avoid the worst season-opening loss in team history.
"What surprised me was I thought our starters got out there and Boston took them out of their game. That means I have to do more teaching with the starters," Lucas said. "I took for granted that they knew more than they did. We were late on rotations and we needed to be quicker. What is disappointing is the way we lost tonight."
Rookie Joe Johnson
was the only other player in double figures for Boston with 10 points. The Celtics shot 44 percent (36-of-81) and went 28-of-31 from the line while Cleveland made just 8-of-10 free throws. Jumaine Jones
and Ricky Davis
each added 12 points off the bench for the Cavs, who shot 43 percent (39-of-90) and were outrebounded, 48-36.