Boston 114, Cleveland 89

BOSTON, Oct. 26 (AP) -- Kevin Garnett had 21 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists to lead the Boston Celtics to a 114-89 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers in the teams' final preseason game on Friday night.

Ray Allen scored 20 points and Paul Pierce 12.

Allen hit a pair of 3-pointers during a 15-5 run to close the third quarter, turning a close game into a blowout. Boston led 86-73 after three.

It was the first matchup of what the Celtics hope could be a season capped with postseason games between LeBron James and Garnett.

James, who led the Cavaliers to the Eastern Conference title last season, finished with 17 points in 35 minutes. He played the entire first quarter, scoring 9 points on 3-for-7 shooting, including a crowd-pleasing driving scoop for his initial basket of the night.

Cleveland, which finished the preseason 1-5, hosts Dallas in its opener Wednesday. The Celtics, who were 4-3, open at home against Washington on Friday.

Garnett, who played 33 minutes, threw a long pass to Eddie House for a breakaway layup that completed his triple-double with just under 7 1/2 minutes left.

Garnett, acquired from Minnesota in the offseason, hopes to lead Boston back into the playoffs. He matched James by playing the entire opening quarter, but collected 10 points.

The Celtics, who finished with the league's second-worst record last season, also picked up guard Allen on a draft-night trade with Seattle. Locally fans have called the two and Pierce "the new Big Three'' - hoping to see the success of the team's title-winning teams from the 1980s highlighted by Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish.

Pierce started the night with a drive and drew a foul on James. Each of the star players played over 32 minutes each.

Notes: Boston C Kendrick Perkins addressed the crowd before the game and prior to asking them for their support this season he opened with, "I'd like everybody to give it up for the Red Sox,'' which drew a big appluase. ... Red Sox owner John Henry was seated courtside and was introduced to a standing ovation. ... Considering a pair of late nights in the local sports scene, with World Series games lasting until nearly midnight, there were a few no-shows in the sellout crowd of 18,624. ... The Cavaliers lost their final four preseason games. ... James and Pierce each took a hard fall after colliding midway into third.


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