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.