Celtics captain Paul Pierce erupted for 17 of his game-high 24 points in the first quarter of Tuesday's win before tweaking his ankle near the end of the third period. He retreated to the locker room with more than three minutes remaining in the game.
"I just tweaked it a little bit, that's why I came back early, to get a little treatment," Pierce said. "I don't think it was anything serious. I should be fine."
Pierce departed the arena without a noticeable limp. After his first-quarter exploits, an early night could be forgiven. Pierce connected on six of his first eight shots, staking Boston to an eight-point, first-quarter lead. He had all 24 points before intermission, finishing 8-of-15 shooting with four rebounds, two assists and a steal over 23:58.
"I think he thought we were practicing tomorrow," Celtics coach Doc Rivers joked. "It’s called the 'veteran injury.' They know how to get hurt late because they think it excuses them from practice the next day. So he’s fine.”
Kidding aside, Pierce put together another dominant first quarter, this after scoring 13 points in the first frame of a win over Utah on Friday.
"That’s who Paul is," Rivers said. "What, did he score more points than he played minutes tonight? And that’s with blowing three layups in the third quarter."
Added Pierce: "It's something I've been trying to do over the last two or three weeks, come out aggressive from the jump and just try to get us off to a quick start. It's something I've been focusing on."
The fact that Cleveland's Joey Graham pushed Pierce's buttons in the first quarter didn't hurt either. After the players jawed early, Pierce responded by scoring Boston's final 13 points of the period.
Pierce let his play do the talking as he walked away from a group of reporters with a big smile when asked about his words with Graham.
--DANIELS MISSES FIRST GAME; EXPECTED BACK THURSDAY--
Celtics reserve swingman Marquis Daniels sat out Tuesday's game while attending to a family matter. It was the first game this season that Daniels has missed.
Rivers said before Tuesday's game that Daniels would likely rejoin the team in time for Thursday's road-trip opening tilt against the Portland Trail Blazers.
Daniels sent a Tweet Tuesday asking his followers for game suggestions for his iPad, writing that he was at a hospital, "bored but family is important."
Von Wafer logged a hefty 21:35 of action, getting an uptick in time due to both the lopsided win and Daniels' absence. He finished with 10 points on 3-of-7 shooting (hitting a pair of 3-pointers) as Boston put seven players in double figures, including three reserves.
--LOOSE BALLS: TECHS, CHARGES AND WAVES--
* Technical tracker: Glen Davis picked up his fourth technical foul of the season for complaining to officials late in the second quarter.
* ChargeWatch: Davis offset his outburst by picking up charge No. 37 on the season, absorbing contact from J.J. Hickson. Semih Erden also stepped in front of the Hickson locomotive for his second charge of the season, while Pierce picked up his fifth charge of the season (tying him with Jermaine O'Neal and Nate Robinson for second place on the team, well behind Davis).
* Double-double in one quarter: Lost in another Cleveland drubbing was the fact that Hickson put up a monster third quarter, registering 10 points (on 5-of-6 shooting) and 11 rebounds in the frame. Alas, it was all for naught. The Celtics and Cavaliers both scored 24 points in the quarter.
* Wave goodbye: With the Celtics up 21 with nine minutes to go, the Garden faithful amused themselves by starting the Wave (much to the delight of Shaquille O'Neal).
* Gino Time!: While the JumboTron operators could have done it at the six-minute timeout of the fourth quarter without fear, everyone's favorite scoreboard dancer didn't appear until there was 2:56 remaining with Boston out front, 108-91. Perkins joined Shaq and Kevin Garnett to laugh their way through the American Bandstand clip.