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NBA Game Summary - Boston at Cleveland

(Tuesday, October 27th)

Final Score: Boston 95, Cleveland 89

Cleveland, OH (Sports Network) - Paul Pierce scored 23 points and pulled down 11 rebounds, pacing Boston to a 95-89 win over the Cavaliers and spoiling the regular season debut for the Cleveland tandem of LeBron James and Shaquille O'Neal.

James, the reigning MVP, poured in 38 points and had eight assists. O'Neal, a 15-time All-Star who was traded to the Cavaliers from the Phoenix Suns in the offseason, tallied 10 points and 10 rebounds in a rare home loss for the Cavs.

"They took us out of a lot of our sets that we've been working on in practice," said James. "They made us get into a lot of hot situations, meaning a late (shot) clock and a lot of one-on-one basketball. They're a really good defensive team."

Last season, the Cavaliers won their first 23 home games, on the way to a 39-2 mark at Quicken Loans Arena.

Kevin Garnett, the 2007-08 defensive player of the year who missed 25 games last season because of knee surgery, scored 13 points, pulled down 10 rebounds and blocked three shots for Boston.

The Celtics, who were ousted by Orlando in seven games in the conference semifinals, just one year after winning an NBA title, won their first game in Cleveland since December 18, 2004. Boston had lost 11 in a row at Quicken Loans Arena, including the playoffs.

Rasheed Wallace, who spent the last five-plus seasons with Detroit before joining the Celtics this past summer, hit 3-of-6 three-point attempts for a 12-point night. Ray Allen scored 16, while Rajon Rondo ended with eight points, six rebounds and 10 assists.

"We didn't feel as though we played our best basketball," said Allen. "There were some things we wish we could have back, but not playing our best and still winnings, we're happy about that."

The Cavaliers won the Central Division title last year and lost in six games to the Orlando Magic in the Eastern Conference Finals.

When O'Neal was introduced in Cleveland his rallying cry was "win a ring for the King," referring to helping James break Cleveland's championship hex. The city hasn't won a major sports championship since 1964, when the Browns captured the NFL crown.

"It's not really tough," O'Neal said about fitting in with his new teammates. "I've been around basketball for a long time. We have to learn each other. We've only been at it for a month, month and a half. I like the work ethic in practice and I like how the guys played in the game. We'll be fine."

Wallace's three-pointer extended Boston's lead to 80-69 with 10 minutes remaining, but the Cavs netted the next seven points.

A pair of foul shots from James had the Cavs within 87-83 with 2:08 remaining and he had a chance to get the hosts closer, but missed a three-point try. Pierce then hit consecutive jumpers for an eight-point margin with 30.8 seconds left, effectively sealing Boston's victory.

It was a quick start for the Cavs, who raced to a 19-5 lead. The run included an alley-oop jam by James off a pass from newcomer Anthony Parker. O'Neal's jump hook capped the spurt nearly five minutes into the game.

"We never really panicked," said Boston coach Doc Rivers. "I think we only used one timeout in that stretch. We just kind of chipped away at it. We talked that we wanted to have the lead by halftime."

Three-pointers by Pierce and Wallace helped Boston close the deficit as the visitors were within 28-21 moving to the second quarter. Another shot from beyond the arc from Wallace tied the game at 32 and the Celtics gained their first lead at 39-38 on a Pierce three-ball with 4:55 left in the second.

James made 1-of-2 free throws with 1:48 remaining in the half for a one-point lead, but the Celtics surged with the final seven points. That included a long-distance make from Allen and two foul shots from Pierce with 2.8 seconds left represented the 51-45 halftime margin.

Rondo's layup extended Boston's lead to 66-52 midway through the third, but James netted Cleveland's final seven points of the period to pull the Cavs within 72-65 moving to the fourth.

"Cleveland is a tough team at home, but once we gathered ourselves, ran our offense and made extra passes, we took care of business down the stretch," said Pierce.

Game Notes

Pierce started his 12th season as a Celtic. That mark is surpassed by eight other players in franchise history for most season played in. John Havlicek is the all-time leader with 16 years played for the Celtics...Cavaliers guard Delonte West, who was arrested in the offseason for carrying concealed weapons and has been dealing with depression, didn't play...The Celtics won despite playing without forward Glen "Big Baby" Davis, who will miss the next six weeks after needing surgery to reduce and fix a fractured right thumb. The injury allegedly occurred over the weekend in an altercation...This was the 600th Cavaliers' game (374-226) at Quicken Loans Arena...James has 13,031 points for his career. He becomes the youngest player in NBA history to score that many points at 24 years and 301 days, besting the previous mark set by Kobe Bryant of 26 years, 132 days.

10/28 00:16:34 ET

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