BOSTON, March 3- Kevin Garnett and the Boston Celtics weren't about to let the Phoenix Suns get the better of them again.
Garnett scored a season-high 28 points and hauled in 11 rebounds Wednesday as Boston notched a 115-103 victory over Phoenix.
It was the first meeting between the teams since Boston’s 88-71 loss in Phoenix on January 28, after which Suns coach Alvin Gentry said he had "lost a little respect" for Garnett — who poked Channing Frye in the groin during that clash.
"I play the game really hard. I play with my heart," Garnett said. "I never go around making excuses about that, so who cares about what they’re talking about?"
Paul Pierce added 16 points with 13 rebounds for Boston and Rajon Rondo scored 16.
Boston beat the Suns for the first time in their last four meetings, and Celtics coach Doc Rivers said "all our guys" were especially motivated.
"That’s what the explosion early was about," added Rivers, whos team jumped to a 13-point lead and lead by as many as 29.
"I thought their bench, their coaches were talking, which I don’t think you should ever (do) if you have a suit and tie on and actually can’t play," Rivers said. "I don’t think you should be doing a lot of talking to the players on the floor."
Despite the tension in the game, there was little suspense on the court.
"It was an intense game, but it wasn’t," Rondo said. "We had it under control the whole game."
Gentry insisted it was "making a big deal out of nothing" to say the previous game between the teams affected this one.
"In the grand scheme of things, it’s one game that we play, and he played great," Gentry said of Garnett.
There was a frightening moment for the Suns, when Vince Carter and Frye clashed heads and left the game in the second half.
The team said Frye had a bruised eye and Carter had a cut on his mouth.
The Celtics’ Glen Davis, already wearing a brace on his left knee, appeared to hurt it jumping to dunk in the final minute.
The team said he had a strained tendon and would have an MRI exam on Thursday.
The game marked the home debut of a new-look Celtics, who acquired Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic at the trade deadline and signed Troy Murphy earlier on Wednesday.
The defending Eastern Conference champion Celtics moved 1 1/2 games ahead of Miami in the race for the best record in the East.