Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 2)

Series starts 12/12

Game 1: Friday, December 12th
Game 2: Wednesday, February 11th

Hornets 82

(12-7, 5-4 away)

Celtics 94

(22-2, 13-1 home)

    Coverage: ESPN/WatchESPN

    8:00 PM ET, December 12, 2008

    TD Garden, Boston, MA

    1 2 3 4 T
    NO 21 19 24 1882
    BOS 21 18 30 2594

    Top Performers

    NO: C. Paul 20 Pts, 6 Reb, 14 Ast, 3 Stl

    Bos: P. Pierce 28 Pts, 6 Reb, 6 Ast, 2 Stl

    Pierce, Garnett power dominant Celtics to latest win

    Associated Press

    BOSTON -- James Posey got his championship ring before the game. The Boston Celtics walked away with all the spoils after it.

    Paul Pierce scored 28 points and Kevin Garnett had 19 points and 10 rebounds on Friday night to lead the Celtics to their 14th consecutive victory, a 94-82 win over their former teammate and the New Orleans Hornets.

    Fast Facts

    • The Celtics win their 14th straight, the club's longest streak since winning 14 straight in March-April of 1986.

    • Boston extended its franchise-best start to 22-2. It's the best start in the NBA since the 1995-96 Bulls started 23-2.

    • The Hornets snapped their three-game win streak.

    -- ESPN research

    "We will always be forever linked with him," Garnett said of Posey, who was the leader of the Celtics bench when they won their NBA-record 17th title in 2007-08 before signing with New Orleans in the offseason. "It's a business, and once the ball is jumped, then that's what it is until summertime."

    Chris Paul had 20 points and 14 assists for the Hornets, while David West had 23 points and 14 rebounds. Posey scored seven points with seven rebounds and a steal while committing five fouls and contributing to a defense that forced the Celtics into 17 turnovers that led to 25 points.

    "He's up to those same tricks," Boston coach Doc Rivers said. "Last year, I loved what he did, setting flops, charges, grabbing, holding, getting away with hitting on the arm. Today I think I complained about Posey the entire game. He's a pain in the butt; he really is. Now I know why I loved him on our team."

    Going Streaking

    The Celtics (14 straight) and Cavs (11 straight) are the two hottest teams in the NBA. Here's an inside look into their current win streaks.

    Cavs Celtics
    Games 11 14
    PPG diff +20.0 +14.6
    10-point wins 10 9
    vs .500+ teams 1 4

    The Celtics held a brief ceremony before the game to award Posey with the championship ring he won with Boston last season. Posey got a big cheer from the crowd, hugs from his former teammates and a tribute from Rivers, who dropped his pregame game face to call Posey a "special player, special person."

    Citing the team's motto of "ubuntu," a phrase favored by Archbishop Desmond Tutu that translates roughly to "I am because we are," Rivers said, "We couldn't be all we could be unless James Posey was all he could be."

    The Hornets, who were within one win of the Western Conference finals last season, left Boston with the knowledge that they don't yet measure up to the league's elite.

    "Pose is a big loss, I'm glad we've got him. But we felt like we could have got this one," Paul said. "I'll tell you right now that I'm not about any moral victory. We played hard. You win or you lose, and we lost."

    New Orleans was without center Tyson Chandler because he showed up at the morning shootaround with a stiff neck. Hilton Armstrong started, playing 25 minutes and scoring eight points on 3-for-9 shooting with four rebounds.

    "If we had one more guy tonight that would have been able to step up, then we would have had a better opportunity," coach Byron Scott said. "We missed him big time tonight."

    The defending champs took the lead with a 17-4 run early in the third quarter and never trailed again while improving to a league-best 22-2 this season. The winning streak is the team's longest since it won a franchise-record 18 in a row in 1981-82.

    "It all goes out the window if we don't win the championship," Pierce said.

    Kendrick Perkins had nine points, 13 rebounds and three blocked shots, and Eddie House hit two of his three 3-pointers in the fourth quarter.

    The Celtics, playing for the second consecutive night after arriving from Washington early Friday morning, fell behind by eight points in the first quarter, went ahead by six in the second and increased it to 11 in the third. After trailing by as many as 14 points in the fourth quarter, New Orleans cut it to 89-82 before the Celtics put it away, thanks in part to an alley-oop from Ray Allen to Garnett that made it an 11-point game with 1:43 left.

    Game notes

    The Celtics had 11 turnovers in the first half that led to 21 of the Hornets' 40 points. ... The Celtics have won 32 of their last 34 home games, including playoffs. ... Paul reached double digits in assists for the 16th time in 19 games. ... It was the first time in 63 games that Peja Stojakovic did not make a 3-pointer. He went 0-for-2 from beyond the arc and had just two points.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 82 94
    FGM-FGA 28-79 (.354) 33-70 (.471)
    3PM-3PA 2-14 (.143) 6-16 (.375)
    FTM-FTA 24-33 (.727) 22-35 (.629)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 13-42 12-48
    Assists 17 14
    Turnovers 10 17
    Steals 10 4
    Blocks 4 5
    Fast Break Points 19 6
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 30 (0/0) 28 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 8 14

    Top Performers

    New Orleans
    Chris Paul Paul
    Points: 20
    Reb: 6
    Ast: 14
    Stl: 3
    Blk: 0
    Paul Pierce Pierce
    Points: 28
    Reb: 6
    Ast: 6
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 0