BOSTON — Mean. Ugly. Not a lot of love. Yep, that pretty much describes how Kevin Garnett treated Joakim Noah and the Chicago Bulls on Friday night.
Garnett scored 20 points with a season-high 17 rebounds to lead the Celtics to a 104-92 victory over the Bulls and leave Noah wondering if it was wise to call the Celtics star “mean” and “ugly” on a Chicago radio station last month.
“Everybody has an opinion,” Garnett said, cutting off that line of questioning. “I’m not entertaining, nor addressing nobody’s.”
Rajon Rondo scored 12 points and had 19 assists, Paul Pierce scored 18 and Ray Allen had 14 points as Boston never trailed in its sixth consecutive win.
Derrick Rose scored 20 points with eight assists, and Carlos Boozer scored 12 points in 21 minutes in his second game after missing the first month of the season with a broken bone in his right hand.
Noah, who had 14 points and 10 rebounds, said on WMVP-AM last month that he grew up with a poster of Garnett on his wall, but Garnett was mean to Noah when he was a rookie and he no longer admires the Celtics star. He went on to call Garnett ugly — in both looks and personality — and said he’s “just (a) very mean guy.”
“Kevin Garnett will not — will not — get a Christmas gift from me. I don’t like him,” Noah said on WMVP-AM. “Just where is the love, know what I’m saying? None at all.”
Celtics coach Doc Rivers said he doesn’t think Garnett was thinking about those comments when he manhandled the Bulls.
“I don’t think he needed that. I don’t think they liked each other before that,” Rivers said. “Kevin’s going to play. If you’re going to talk, he’s still going to play.”
On that, Noah agreed.
“It’s been like that since every time we played,” he said. “It doesn’t matter. Who cares? They won the game … That’s what’s frustrating. They won the game. We didn’t.”
The Celtics also beat the Bulls 110-105 on Nov. 5 in an overtime game that was reminiscent of the 2008 first-round postseason series in which they played a total of seven overtimes in the first six games. “Last time we played this team, it was like a barfight,” Garnett said.
Garnett had 16 points and 11 rebounds at the half, when the Celtics led 53-48. The Bulls cut the lead to one point before missing their next eight shots and watching Boston open a 70-54 lead.
“That was the game right there,” Boozer said. “We got out-rebounded and they made some good shots. We missed our shots. That was the game right there in the third quarter.”
The Bulls were on the road for the eighth time in nine games, and this time they had Boozer back. The centerpiece of the Bulls’ offseason rebuilding, Boozer missed all of the exhibition season and the first 15 games of the regular season, then returned with five points and two rebounds in his Chicago debut on Wednesday in a 107-78 loss to Orlando.
Allen scored 10 points in the first nine minutes to help the Celtics open a 26-12 lead. Chicago scored 10 of the first 11 points of the second before Shaquille O’Neal’s putback dunk with 8:44 left gave Boston its first field goal of the quarter.
But the Bulls never took the lead. It was a five-point game at the half, then Noah and Boozer both scored from inside to make it 53-52. That’s when Garnett went to the floor near midcourt to get a loose ball and flipped it backward to Rondo, who was streaking to the basket for the easy layup.
The Celtics followed with a 14-1 run while Chicago missed eight straight shots. That put the lead back into double-digits and the Bulls never got within 11 points after that.
NOTES: Glen “Big Baby” Davis was called for two fouls in the first 2:20 of the second quarter and went to the bench with three. O’Neal also picked up three fouls before halftime, leaving Boston’s center duties to Turkish rookie Semih Erden, who had five points and three rebounds at the break. O’Neal scored nine points in the first half. … Garnett’s 17 rebounds were his most in two years, since he had 20 against Indiana in an overtime game on Dec. 7, 2008. … Keith Bogans started but played just 13 minutes, with zero points. Taj Gibson had 10 points and eight rebounds off the bench for Chicago. … Former Celtics player Brian Scalabrine got a standing ovation when he checked into the game for the final 67 seconds. … Rondo appeared to hurt his left leg with 5 minutes left in the third, but he stayed in the game. He then hit a long 2-pointer as the shot clock expired to give Boston a 74-57 lead.
Knicks 100, Hornets 92
NEW ORLEANS — When the Hornets were able to interrupt Amare Stoudemire’s dominance inside, the Knicks responded with enough 3-pointers to make New Orleans pay.
Stoudemire had 34 points and 10 assists to power New York to its eighth win in nine games, 100-92 over the Hornets on Friday night.
New York led 74-73 late in the third when Shawne Williams’ driving scoop off the glass and Raymond Felton’s floater as he was fouled ignited a 10-0 run that gave the Knicks (11-9) their first double-digit lead of the game. Wilson Chandler’s second 3 of the fourth quarter made it 92-78 with 6:02 to go and New Orleans (13-6) was unable to recover in losing for the fifth time in seven games.
Trevor Ariza had a season-high 21 points for New Orleans, which was without David West because of a stomach virus. Chris Paul had 17 points and 10 assists.
New York went 13 for 30 from 3-point range. Chandler, who scored 14, made four 3s, while Danilo Gallinari and Williams made three each.
The Hornets simple couldn’t keep up with that, going 3 of 14 from deep.
Jason Smith made his fourth career start in place of West, who leads the Hornets in scoring with 18.8 points per game. Smith had 12 points, while Emeka Okafor had 11 points and 14 rebounds for New Orleans.
Felton finished with 17 points and 13 assists for New York, hitting a pair of 3s. Gallinari and Williams each scored 13.
The Hornets scored the first eight points of the game and led most of the first half, going up 28-21 when Willie Green’s basket early in the second quarter capped another 8-0 run.
Hawks 93, 76ers 88
ATLANTA — Al Horford’s three-point play with 31 seconds remaining gave Atlanta its first lead and the Hawks beat the Philadelphia 76ers 93-88 on Friday night for their fifth straight win.
The Hawks trailed 85-72 in the final quarter before closing out the game with a 21-3 run. Marvin Williams led Atlanta with 22 points.
Horford made a jumper with 1:24 left to trim the 76ers’ lead to 88-86. Following a miss by Elton Brand, Horford scored again and was fouled by Tony Battie. He made the resulting free throw to put Atlanta in front.
The Sixers have dropped eight consecutive road games. They did not score in the final 2:18.
After Horford’s three-point play, Brand missed again and Jamal Crawford missed two free throws for Atlanta. Zaza Pachulia grabbed the loose ball after Crawford’s second miss, and Crawford made both foul shots this time after he was fouled again.
Jodie Meeks then lost Andre Iguodala’s inbounds pass, setting up two free throws by Horford to pad the lead.
Horford and Crawford each had 15 points for the Hawks, who played their second game since losing top scorer Joe Johnson for four to six weeks with a right elbow injury.
The Sixers had won two straight but coach Doug Collins still tinkered with their lineup. Meeks, a second-year guard, made his first career start, replacing rookie Evan Turner, who had started the last 12 games. Turner moved into the lineup when Iguodala missed five games with right Achilles’ tendinitis.
Collins said before the game the lineup “just has not been a great fit” with Turner and Andre Iguodala starting together.
“He knows this is not a demotion,” Collins said of Turner, the No. 2 overall pick in this year’s NBA draft.
Turner averaged 12.8 points in the five games Iguodala missed but only seven points in the last four games.
“Learning to play without the ball has taken away from his aggressiveness,” Collins said.
Turner finished with 11 points and Meeks had nine.
The Hawks trailed by 18 in the first half and used a 19-5 run to cut the deficit to 72-69 late in the third. But the Sixers pushed the lead back to double figures in the fourth before faltering at the end.
NOTES: The 76ers are 1-10 on the road. Their only road win came on Nov. 7 at New York. … Johnson’s right arm was in a sling as he sat on the bench following surgery Thursday to remove a loose body from his elbow. … Newly signed G-F Damien Wilkins was with the Hawks for Friday morning’s shootaround but was not in uniform for the game. Wilkins, a six-year NBA veteran, is the son of former NBA player Gerald Wilkins and nephew of Hawks legend and vice president Dominique Wilkins. … Collins smiled as he said he waited as long as possible to post his lineup before the game. “Larry Drew is my former assistant, so I’m going to make him squirm,” Collins said of the Hawks coach. Drew was an assistant on Collins’ Washington staff from 2000-03.