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Battle Brewing in Manchester

Paul Pierce [1] asked for the match up and he got it.

With just under 7:30 to go in the first quarter, Pierce drove the lane against Ron Artest [2]. Artest welcomed him at the basket with a blow to the shoulder. No foul was called and the Rockets scored on the fastbreak. Artest pumped his chest as Eddie House [3] and Kendrick Perkins [4] rose to their feet on the Celtics [5] bench to vocalize their disagreement with the no-call.

Moments later, Garnett blocked a Rockets shot that sent the crowd into a frenzy. The noise escalated when Artest dealt a hard foul to Ray Allen [6] that sent the Celtics guard sliding into the front row.

Pierce has left the game with a bruised right shoulder but is expected to return.

All this tension and there is still five minutes to go in the first quarter.