Celtics jump to 77-38 halftime lead and coast

BOSTON (AP) -- Hard to believe, but Boston's newest Big Three thinks it can play even better.

Paul Pierce scored 26 points, Kevin Garnett added 23 points and 13 rebounds, and the Celtics shot 72 percent during an overpowering first half en route to a 119-93 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday night.

"We are just scratching the surface on what we can do," Pierce said. "We enjoy seeing the next player make a great play and no one cares who gets credit."

Boston improved to 3-0 overall and has won both its home games by an average of 24 points. Ray Allen scored 22 points and is shooting 63 percent since joining the Celtics.

"They [Garnett, Pierce and Allen] like each other," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. "They've all decided that they don't need anything individually and it is all about what's best for the team."

The Celtics barely broke a sweat in building a 77-38 halftime lead. Boston had multiple uncontested layups, dunks and an array of dazzling passes, outrebounded Denver 25-9 and dominated essentially every statistic on the box score.

Allen Iverson led the Nuggets with 22 points, but Carmelo Anthony was held to only 11 on 3-of-13 shooting. Denver dropped an emotional game on Tuesday in New York, 119-112, after blowing a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter and has lost three straight overall.

"It's a game we never had a shot in," Iverson said. "They jumped right on us and we were never able to take care of business."

Iverson appeared to be the only Nuggets player fazed by the huge early deficit. After Eduardo Najera picked up a technical early in the second quarter with Denver trailing 50-25, Iverson barked to referee Scott Wall, "We're down 25, isn't that enough?"

Rivers returned for Boston after missing a game due to the death of his father.

"Doc has been preaching to us about repetition," Garnett said. "We knew Denver could put up 150 points if they wanted to, but we want to be known as a defensive team."

Garnett, who also chipped in with seven assists, gave Boston its biggest lead of the game at 91-50 when he converted an alley-oop dunk from Pierce with 4:30 left in the third quarter.

Boston shot 65 percent for the game and has won 16 of the last 18 home games against the Nuggets.

Boston jumped ahead 38-22 after the first quarter behind 28 points from the trio of Garnett, Allen and Pierce. The Celtics extended the lead to 47-22 with a 9-0 run to begin the second quarter.

"I don't remember getting down by that much even on the bad teams in Toronto," Nuggets center Marcus Camby said.

Boston recorded its franchise high of 85 points in a half two separate times, both against the Nuggets.

Game notes
San Antonio has the NBA record for highest field goal percentage in a game, shooting .707 against Dallas on April 16, 1983. ... Camby had only eight rebounds after totaling 70 through the first four games. ... Kenyon Martin had four fouls in the first half. ... Celtics forward James Posey and Nuggets forward Nene left the game with injuries and did not return.