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1.24.2008

'86 Cs Win (32-8), Only One Game Behind '08 Cs

Green Improves to 32-8

This was a night when season ticket holders "rewarded" their garage mechanics, mailmen, and friends. Go ahead, take the tickets, enjoy the game.

The Celtics played the Golden State Warriors, a team whose coach (John Bach) looks like Spiro Agnew and spends most of his time pleading nolo contendere.

The last-place Warriors are 2-23 on the road and haven't won in Boston Garden since one month before the blizzard of '78.

The Celts drubbed the woeful visitors, 135-114, last night. It was Boston's seventh straight victory and 11th in 12 games.

This was supposed to be the soft center between LA (Wednesday) and Philadelphia (tomorrow) and it lived up to its billing. Kevin McHale took the night off due to a sore left Achilles tendon. Several other players took the night off, and most of them were on the floor wearing Warrior uniforms. Warrior center Joe Barry Carroll shot 2 for 14 and scored six points in 33 lethargic minutes.

Robert Parish, who toiled four years in Oakland before his emancipation, said, "I can relate to what they're going through now. It was like that the last year I was there. They were flat tonight. They weren't very aggressive at all."

The Celts never trailed after 6-4. Boston led, 37-27, at the end of one quarter and 63-53 at the half. It was 93-78 at the end of three periods, and fans were chanting "Beat Those Bears" with four minutes left.

Larry Bird led the Celts with 25 points (his 15th straight game over 20). Starting in place of McHale, Scott Wedman scored 21 with a season-high 13 rebounds. David Thirdkill came off the bench to score a career-high 20 in 22 minutes.

It was bombs away from the outset. While an alleged sellout sat in stony silence, the Celtics and Warriors ran up and down the floor like 10 doctors from the Ernie DeGregorio School of Defense.

Bird and Wedman made three-pointers in the first period shootout. At the other end, the Celts were lazy boxing out and Larry Smith (10 points in the quarter) got some garbage off the offensive board.

Chris Mullin (24 points) made his Garden pro debut with 2:11 left in the first. Boston led by four at that juncture.

Less than a minute later, Bill Walton came off after taking a shot to the nose. Walton has broken his nose at least 11 times in his career and twice this season. Last night's incident did not result in a break, but Walton went to the trainer's room for the rest of the first half.

Dennis Johnson, Jerry Sichting (5-5) and Parish ran it up to 37-27 at the end of one. The Celtics shot 63 percent (17-27) and committed only one turnover in the first 12 minutes.

K.C. Jones had Sam Vincent, Thirdkill, Greg Kite, Sichting and Wedman on the floor at the start of the second. Wedman hit three jumpers in 63 seconds and Boston led, 43-27. Bring on the Sixers.

After missing his first three shots, Mullin scored on a follow drive. Then Jones started to filter the starters back into the lineup, and you could almost hear them groaning as they approached the scorer's table.

The Warriors clawed back and cut it to four on a jumper by Sleepy Floyd (19), but the Celts ripped off six in a row to go back ahead by 10. The Warriors did not score a basket in the final 2:51 of the half and Boston led, 63-53, at intermission.

Danny Ainge carried Boston to an 83-65 lead in the third, but Boston got lazy again and the Warriors staved off the blowout for a few more minutes.

Walton returned with some stuffing in his nostrils and teamed with Thirdkill to push the lead back to 15 at the end of three.

Walton (six assists in 12 minutes) did some nice Johnny Kerr-esque high post passing in the fourth as the Celtics' lead approached 20. A Walton dunk made it 101-82 with 9:45 left. With 8:28 left, Sichting hit an open jumper (there was no other variety last night) and the lead went to 21. Thirdkill was just getting warmed up.

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