Big Bench Effort Boosts Boston Past Hornets
Boston 101, New Orleans/Oklahoma City 87
OKLAHOMA CITY, Dec. 7 (Ticker) -- Paul Pierce and Ricky Davis got some much-needed help from the bench.
Pierce and Davis combined for 54 points and Mark Blount and Al Jefferson led a huge effort from the reserves as the Boston Celtics cruised to a 101-87 victory over the New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets.
Boston was coming off Tuesday's dispirited 91-73 loss at Houston and was looking for a spark. The Celtics got it from their bench, which scored 39 points and thoroughly outplayed the reserves of the Hornets.
Leading the way were Blount and Jefferson, both of whom were expected to be starters coming out of training camp.
"It was a nice effort tonight by our big guys," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. "One of the few times all year that we can say we had a power game."
Blount, who lost his starting job last week to Kendrick Perkins, collected 19 points on 7-of-10 shooting. His three-point play at 10:49 of the fourth quarter stopped a surge by the Hornets and gave the Celtics an 86-73 lead.
"Mark is far more active on the glass," Rivers said. "He was able to get some tip-ins, and keep things alive, and our big guys did a good job of that."
Jefferson, a second-year power forward who has been unable to unseat Raef LaFrentz as the starter, had 16 points and nine rebounds. He scored 10 points in the second half, helping the Celtics maintain an 11 point halftime lead.
"I got a lot of points off of hard cuts," said Jefferson, who made 7-of-11 shots. "I got my post move going, and they kept giving the ball back to me.
"We haven't had a lot of bench points," Rivers said. "Tonight was one of the first nights we scored with Paul and Ricky on the bench.
Pierce and Davis scored 15 points each in the first half, when Boston shot 55 percent (21-of-38) and opened a 59-48 lead.
"I think we came out very aggressive from the jump," Pierce said. "We were very disappointed with the way we played last night in Houston. We came out aggressive and took the crowd out of the game.
A layup by David West pulled the Hornets within 67-60 with 5:48 left in the third period. After a timeout, Pierce made three free throws and Jefferson scored inside twice to rebuild the lead to 74-61 with 3:51 to go. Boston led by double digits thereafter.
The 6-6 Davis matched up with 6-foot rookie point guard Chris Paul to disrupt the Hornets' offensive momentum.
"We know that their offense runs through Paul, J.R. Smith, and Speedy Claxton," Pierce said. "We wanted to put pressure on them and make other guys make plays. West had a big night tonight but we can live with that as long as he hold down the other guys
West scored 29 points and Paul added 16 and 10 rebounds for the Hornets, whose bench scored just 17 points. They have lost three in a row.
"We're not being very aggressive on either end of the floor," Hornets coach Byron Scott said. "We're soft on defense. Our guys have to make adjustments and we're not getting that done."
The Celtics have games Friday at San Antonio and Saturday at Dallas to wrap up their road trip.