Paul Pierce scored 29 points and Antoine Walker

By Tom Withers Associated Press Published:

Paul Pierce scored 29 points and Antoine Walker 23 _ in just three quarters _ as Boston opened with a 108-89 win over Cleveland, spoiling John Lucas' coaching debut with the Cavaliers.

After Pierce and Walker accounted for 51 percent of their points a year ago, the Celtics hoped to get more players involved in their offense this season.

But Tuesday night, they didn't need anyone else.

"We're going to ride our horses," Walker said.

As Pierce and Walker relaxed in the fourth quarter, the duo enjoyed a rare early night.

"Opening night and no fourth quarter," Pierce recalled telling Walker. "We took off and never looked back. It's a great start to the season."

Walker went just 6-for-20 from the field, but added eight rebounds and seven assists in 30 minutes. Pierce was 12-for-20 and made four straight jumpers in the first period when Boston blew it open.

The pair combined for 37 first-half points and 52 in three quarters as the Celtics opened a 92-59 lead.

It was an ideal opener for the Celtics, who'll begin the season with four games in five nights.

For Lucas, hired to bring some energy back to the Cavs, and 17,748 fans at Gund Arena, it was a look at what could be a very long year in Cleveland.

"We laid a big egg," Lucas said. "That was a thorough whipping we got. We relied too much on the outside shot."

Lucas may not have center Zydrunas Ilgauskas (foot) and forward Tyrone Hill (back) until December, and without any size up front, the Cavs will have trouble competing.

Cleveland got more bad news when rookie center DeSagana Diop, the No. 8 overall pick, strained his left knee in the fourth quarter and didn't return. He didn't score in seven minutes.

Only a late scoring spurt by Cleveland's reserves saved the Cavs from the worst opening loss in their 32-year history.

Trajan Langdon and Wesley Person scored 13 points apiece to lead the Cavs, who were outscored 28-8 from the free-throw line and outrebounded 48-36.

"We don't have an inside game," Lucas said. "So when we don't make shots, we have the capability of looking very bad."

Pierce's 3-pointer with 1:06 remaining in the third gave Boston a 90-57 lead, and rookie Joseph Forte hit two free throws as the Celtics went up by 35.

Pierce made four jumpers in a row _ three over Lamond Murray _ as the Celtics opened an early lead. Walker missed his first five shots from the floor, but once he found his range, the Cavs were done.

"We doubled Pierce and he still made his shots," Cavs center Chris Mihm said. "When he made four in a row, then we got real timid. They started hitting everything."

Pierce's fourth straight basket gave Boston the lead for good at 19-17, and Walker scored five points in the final 2:09 of the period as the Celtics closed with a 20-4 spurt to make it 33-19 after one.

Walker's 3-pointer at the buzzer put Boston up 65-45 at half.

Notes: The Celtics are 36-20 in season openers. ... The 7:15 p.m. start

was the NBA's earliest on opening night, and Walker scored the season's

first points with two free throws just 33 seconds in. ... Boston

outscored Cleveland 22-4 on fastbreak points. ... Cleveland coaches are

now 1-12 in their debuts, with Lenny Wilkens getting the lone win in

1986.

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