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Celtics Cruise By Grizzlies

Two rugged practices that made Rick Pitino feel like he was back at Kentucky left the coach of the Boston Celtics feeling a lot better about his team after they pounded the Vancouver Grizzlies 101-77 Thursday night.

The Celtics, who got 25 points from Paul Pierce and 24 from Antoine Walker, had two days of intense practices in Vancouver.

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  • "Our practices the last two days were like I remember in college. They were flat-out war," Pitino said after the Celtics moved their record to 2-3 on their six-game road trip, which ends Friday night in Los Angeles against the Lakers.

    "We were making our minds up that we were going to get better at the defensive end. Either that or we were going to kill all our players. It was either one or the other."

    "A lot of trash-talking," Walker said of the practices the Celtics ran following their 105-92 loss Monday at Portland. "But we didn't want to leave it at practice. I think our frustration (of recent performances) led to good play tonight."

    The Celtics led from the opening tip, frustrating the Grizzlies with excellent help defense against Vancouver, which played its first game at home after a 2-2 Eastern road swing.

    The Grizzlies were held to a season-low 11 points in the first quarter, missing 19 of 23 from the field and committing eight turnovers. The low point game early in the second period. Trailing 33-14, the Grizzlies had to call a timeout just to inbound the ball after a Boston basket.

    "All I can say was that was a stinker," said a terse Vancouver coach Lionel Hollins. "We were outhustled, outplayed and obviously out-shot. The whole thing was we didn't have a lot of fight."

    Kenny Anderson added 21 points on 11-of-21 shooting for the Cetics. In addition, he held Vancouver point guard Mike Bibby to 11 points, a far cry from his effort in their previous meeting when Bibby hit six 3-pointers and scored a career-high 33 points in a 112-103 Vancouver win Jan. 10.

    "It wasn't about getting back at him. It was about getting a win," Anderson said. "We've played well on this trip and deserved a win because of the way we played at both ends of the floor."

    Grizzlies center Bryant Reeves was an early casualty, suffering a sprained right knee 6:03 into the contest. He did not return. The lack of an interior presence hurt the Grizzlies, who were outrebounded 44-32.


  • Celtics forward Danny Fortson appeared relieved after the game that he remains with the Celtics after the trade deadline. Fortson was part of a three-player trade with Toronto earlier this month that was revoked when Alvin Williams of the Raptors failed his physical. "At least I don't have to worry about packing," said Fortson, who moved up in the rotation Thursday as the first man off the bench, ahead of Tony Battie... Vancouver guard Michael Dickerson entered the game having led the Grizzlies in scoring in seven of their previous eight contests. He averaged 27.3 points and shot 55 percent from the field in his previous six games but was held to 18 points Thursday.

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