2012-02-06 / Sports

Garnett carries Celtics

BOSTON ( AP) — Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers could see that Kevin Garnett was looking and feeling spry.

Running the floor and looking strong on the glass, the 35- year-old Garnett matched his season- high with 24 points and grabbed nine rebounds to lead the Celtics to their fourth straight win, a 98-80 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday.

Garnett was nine of 12 from the field, including his third 3-pointer of the season on three tries. He hit one in Friday’s win over New York.

Paul Pierce scored 21 points, moving nine behind Hall of Famer Larry Bird for second place on the club’s alltime list, and Ray Allen added 12. Rajon Rondo had 14 assists and reserve Chris Wilcox chipped in with 12 points.

Boston took charge with a 21-7 run early in the fourth quarter that turned a sixpoint lead to 90- 70 on Garnett’s jumper.

Relying on a combination of reserves and two of their usual stars — Garnett and Pierce — the Celtics controlled the glass and outran the Grizzlies for transition baskets.

Rudy Gay paced the Grizzlies with 21 points and seven rebounds, and O. J. Mayo scored 15 points for Memphis, which has lost six of eight.

The Celtics led by six points at halftime and pushed it to double digits ( 53- 43) on Pierce’s two free throws midway into the third. Boston relied on some hot long-range shooting in the third quarter, hitting 5 of its first 6 from behind the 3- point line to keep Memphis from coming back until Gay scored three consecutive baskets late in the period.

The Celtics held a 69-61 lead entering the final quarter.

Boston led 43-37 at halftime after the teams traded large second- quarter runs. The Grizzlies opened the period by scoring 16 of the first 19 points, taking a 32-27 lead on Dante Cunningham’s jumper.

After Rivers called time out, his team responded with a 16-2 run.

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