Rajon Rondo casually ripped the Bulls to shreds tonight, coming just one rebound shy of a triple-double in a 101-95 win. His stat line is just amazing: 20 points on 10-16 shooting, 10 assists, 9 rebounds and 5 steals.
The Celtics really won this one in the first half, when they hung 58 points on the Bulls. They built up a lead as big as 14 before the Bulls made their run in the 4th quarter. Rondo’s scoring came primarily in the lane on a variety of lay ups. That scoring set up his passing later as the Bulls overreacted to his drives late in the 4th, clearing the way for a pair of clutch alley-oops to Kevin Garnett at a time where the Celtics couldn’t buy a basket.
The Celtics went 5 full minutes in the 4th quarter without scoring, letting the Bulls hang around and build a run that got the game as close as 3 points. But if the Celtics could hit a 3 (3-16, and one of them came from Jared Sullinger to beat the 3rd quarter buzzer) this game would have been over much earlier. Credit the Bulls for not giving up, especially being so undermanned.
The Celtics starters scored 74 of the team’s 101 points. That’s not to say that the bench was bad… they were actually better, overall, than they had been for most of the season so far. They shot 11-21 as a group, which is pretty good considering how much they’ve struggled.
Jeff Green looked as if he was starting to build on that 4th quarter in Milwaukee, but he left the game after spraining his right ankle by stepping on Kevin Garnett’s foot. He returned, but still only played 15 minutes, scoring 7 points and grabbing 5 rebounds. Leandro Barbosa had a solid 15 minutes as well, scoring 6 points and dishing 3 dimes. Hell, Courtney Lee even hit 2 of the 3 shots he took.
But the Celtics offense, which finally started to look crisp in the first half, went stagnant without Rondo in the game. That’s just something that’s going to happen, especially right now.
- Gotta give some love to Brandon Bass for dominating a stretch in the 2nd quarter. He had 16 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists (no, really), a steal, and 2 blocks. That’s a damn fine game from #30.
- Paul Pierce was hot to start, but got cold late to finish with just 10 points on 4-13 shooting. He did have 5 assists and 6 rebounds, though, which again shows he’ll do other things to help when he’s struggling.
- Jason Terry appears to have found his jumper. He shot 5-10 tonight… though he did only shoot 1-5 from 3.
- The Celtics were only out-rebounded by 6 (40-34). If you offered me that exact number before the game, I’d have taken it in a heartbeat.
- The Celtics only had 8 turnovers in this game.
- Kevin Garnett passed Allen Iverson to move into 17th place on the All-Time scoring list. It took him 315 fewer shots to pass AI.
- And finally…. Jared Sullinger and Brandon Bass combined for 7 assists tonight. Did not see that coming.
Great win. The C’s showed a lot better continuity out there. The rotation thing is still getting settled, but this game showed huge strides for this team as they try to mesh into a cohesive unit.