BOSTON (Reuters) – Boston forward scored a game-high 28 points in his rematch with Phoenix’s Channing Frye as the eased to a 115-103 victory over the on Wednesday
In his previous matchup against the Suns on January 28, Garnett was ejected with two technical fouls after he hit Frye in the groin area leading to a confrontation between the pair.
Wednesday, however, Garnett was back to his best, adding 11 rebounds as the Eastern-Conference leading Celtics cruised to victory after opening up a 20-point advantage before halftime.
The Celtics were also helped by Rajon Rondo recording 16 points and 15 assists and Paul Pierce scoring 16 and 13 rebounds.
“I think all our guys were (extra motivated),” Celtics coach told reporters. “That’s what the explosion early was all about.”
Boston led by as much as 29 points over the Suns in the third before the visitors fought back to trail by as little as eight.
The victory maintained Boston’s strong form since they traded away center Kendrick Perkins last week to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Perkins helped the Celtics win the 2008 NBA title and reach last year’s finals and fans have been worried the team would regress but this victory was Boston’s (44-15) third in four games since the trade.
The Celtics now lead the East by 1.5 games over the .
Forward Troy Murphy made his debut for Boston after being picked up off waivers but scored only one point in 14 minutes of play.
Phoenix (31-28), pushing to move into a playoff position, had their four-game winning streak snapped and fell 1.5 games behind the eighth and final postseason spot in the Western Conference.
Guard Aaron Brooks led Phoenix with 17 points and seven assists in his third game since the team acquired him in a trade with Houston. Steve Nash finished with eight points and seven assists.
(Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by Patrick Johnston)