BOSTON — The rivalry between the Celtics and Lakers keeps rolling even if they no longer dominate the NBA.
And that brought some extra satisfaction to Boston’s Paul Pierce after he led a 116-95 rout of Los Angeles with 24 points on Thursday night.
“It always feels good when you can give them a little old-fashioned beatdown in your house, no matter what direction these teams are going," he said. “It’ll always be a rivalry. Everybody’s always going to watch."
It was even more special, and perhaps surprising, that the win gave the Celtics a 6-0 record since losing point guard Rajon Rondo for the season with a torn knee ligament.
“We’re in a rhythm. We’re moving the ball," said Kevin Garnett, who had 15 points and became the 16th player in NBA history to reach the 25,000-point mark. “Some day when I’m rocking in a rocking chair having a cigar and thinking what I’ve done I’m sure it’ll make some sense to me, (but) the first priority was the Lakers."
The teams have met a record 12 times in the NBA Finals, the last in 2010 when the Lakers won in seven games. Only four players on those teams were active Thursday — Kobe Bryant and Metta World Peace for Los Angeles and Pierce and Garnett for Boston. Pau Gasol and Rondo also played in that series but missed Thursday’s game.
In 2008, the Celtics beat the Lakers in six games for the championship.
“You can feel the energy every time the Lakers come into the building," Pierce said. “There’s always a little extra mustard you’re going to try to put out there when this type of setting is set up for you."
The Lakers played with Dwight Howard after he missed three games with a sore right shoulder but without Gasol, who is out indefinitely with a torn plantar fascia in his right foot.
Bryant scored 27 to lead the Lakers, who had won their previous three games but suffered their worst loss of the season. Howard had nine points and nine rebounds in 28 minutes before fouling out with 5:07 left.
“There were a couple times where I felt (the shoulder pain)," he said, “but I just tried not to think about it. “
Also on Thursday:
DENVER — Kenneth Faried finished with 21 points and 12 rebounds in 26 minutes as Denver won for the 15th time in 18 games since Jan. 1.