Celtics Hunt Down Raptors

John Travolta receives a kiss from Italian host Ilary Blasi, during the Festival di Sanremo songs contest, in San Remo, Italy, Monday, Feb. 27, 2006.
AP

Paul Pierce's hard work in the offseason paid off in Boston's season opener.

Pierce scored 30 points and Walter McCarty tied a career high with 20, including 6-for-6 on 3-pointers, as the Celtics beat the Toronto Raptors 103-90 Tuesday night.

"Paul worked on his game every single day this summer," Boston coach Rick Pitino said. "The more experience he gets the more lethal he'll become."

Pierce was 12-for-19 from the field, including 3-for-4 on 3-pointers. He also had eight rebounds and five assists for the Celtics, who were 10-of-13 from long range.

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  • "I work hard because I want to be recognized to be one of the great players of the game," Pierce said. "Tonight was a gratifying win because we played good team basketball. We have a lot depth. Walter McCarty came off the bench and was huge for us."

    Antoine Walker scored 22 points and Adrian Griffin added 14, including a thunderous dunk in the face of Toronto's Antonio Davis in the second quarter.

    "He surprised me with that one. When he did that I jumped out of my seat and I wanted to hug him," Pierce said.

    Doug Christie led the Raptors with 20 points. Vince Carter, last year's rookie of the year, was held to 12 points.

    Pierce scored the game's first basket and finished the first half with 20 points as Boston took a 50-42 lead.

    "Pierce killed us," Toronto swingman Tracy McGrady said. "His confidence was up tonight. He made his first shot and he was tough to stop."

    Toronto closed within four points early in the third quarter, but Boston finished the period on a 20-12 run to take a 14-point lead. Pierce sparked the run with a 3-pointer, and Walker scored 11 during the spurt.

    "Paul was ready to play, and you can tell he has improved over the summer," Toronto coach Butch Carter said.

    Notes

  • Carter decided to start Alvin Williams at point guard instead of Tracy McGrady. McGrady, who is a free agent after the season, has made it clear he wants more playing time.
  • Toronto guard Dee Brown was charged with impaired driving over the weekend after getting pulled over for speeding.
  • Rap star Master P, waived by Toronto last week, criticized the team Tuesday for not giving him a fair chance. The multimillionaire rapper and producer, whose real name is Percy Miller, blamed Raptors players and coaches. "I was disappointed in my teammates. I worked hard but nobody said how hard I worked," Miller said.
  • Boston guard Dana Barros left the team to attend the funeral of his grandmother.

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