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Recap: Celtics destroy Raptors 107-89 in Garden Matinee

Rajon Rondo returned from a 1-game injury absence to lead the Celtics past the Raptors 107-89 with 20 assists.  Jason Terry (20) and Paul Pierce (19) paced the Celtics balanced scoring effort as the C’s finally put together a wire-to-wire shellacking this season.  The green looked a bit green in the second quarter when they allowed Toronto to trim a quick 16-point lead to 5, but they were all business in the third quarter, cruising to their sixth win of the season.

The Green: The Celtics sprinted out to an early 16-point lead with just under 10 minutes to go in the second quarter after Kevin Garnett made one of two free throws.  They appeared to be heading into cruise mode after building a 3017 lead after the first quarter while out-rebounding and out-shooting the Raptors.  Rajon Rondo returned from his 1 game sprained ankle injury to secure his 10+ assist record with 11 by halftime.  At one point he even equaled the entire Raptors’ assist total when he reached 9 of them.  It was the first relatively complete win of the season and finally they thrived on the depth that they promoted since the off-season.  It also allowed KG to be put in carbonite early, only needing Ticket to log 17 minutes.  This is huge considering they play tomorrow night at Detroit.  Terry is continuing to find his groove, drilling several threes when they needed them.

The Gross: The Celtics stopped shooting 70% and went from cruise control to damage control in less than 10 minutes in the first half as the lead shrank from 16 to just 5 at halftime.  This was mostly due to Toronto mucking things up with a zone defense. They started to look lethargic and reflective of their typical afternoon-game selves in past seasons in the second quarter.  They still committed 13 turnovers, but the majority came in the first half.

The GreenLights: Rondo dribbled into a triple team on the baseline and somehow still found Chris Wilcox for an alley-oop.  Paul Pierce welcomed Raptors rookie Jonas Valanciunas to the Garden poster club with a ferocious dunk in the second quarter.  Rondo and Chris Wilcox connected on about 14 alley-oops in total.

The Grid: (quick stats)

  • Rondo led the way with 20 assists, 6 points, 2 rebounds and 5 turnovers (1 in the second half)
  • KG only played 17 minutes but registered 15 points (6-7 FG) with 6 rebounds
  • Jason Terry had 20 points, leading all scorers on 4-7 for threes, including several heat-checking grenades
  • In 26 minutes off the bench, rookie Jared Sullinger notched a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds, 7 of them refreshingly from the offensive glass
  • As a team the Celtics out-rebounded Toronto 37-35, held them to just 43% shooting (30-70 FG, 8-22 3FG), forced them to 15 turnovers and had 15 more assists (37-22).

The Celtics now improve to 6-4 and head to Detroit to play the Pistons tomorrow night at 7:30.  The Celtics are now 6-1 all-time when Rondo gets 20+ assists and 40-10 when he gets 15+ assists.  His streak of 10+ assists remains in tact, now at 33 games trailing John Stockton (37) and Magic Johnson (46).  Doc on Rondo: “He’s a rare bird… He had a feel (to be great) when he walked in the door.”

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  • http://redsarmy.com John – Red’s Army

    Apologies for anyone unable to comment before. It’s been fixed

  • LebronWearsARedThong

    I think Rondo will pass Stockton, but do y’all think he will pass Magic for the record?

    • Brick James

      It’s possible, but unlikely. 15 games is a long ways to go.

      • Chris57

        Rondo is going to break Magic’s record for sure. He knows how important the streak is. He will make sure he gets 10 a game. He had 19 after 3 quarters yesterday! I think he will get atleast 50 games straight.

        • Chris57

          It also would be 13 games now to tie and 14 to break

  • http://www.redsarmy.com KWAPT

    Was so impressed with Sully today. Kid just gets it. He is going to be a huge addition off the bench as far as rebounding and hustle go if he can stay consistent,

  • Chris

    If Sully can string some games like that together without the non-factor games in between, he’s starting by seasons end. For now, he’s a valuable part of a good bench-backcourt duo with Wilcox.

    The only thing that needed improvement was highlighted in that second quarter, and it was all about urgency. The Raptors moved it with urgency and connected on some threes, while the Celts got a bit complacent with a big lead. The urgency vastly improved when Wilcox, Barbosa and Terry stepped it up, and that will only get better when AB returns and Lee and Green are more comfortable.

    • Brick James

      I honestly don’t think his numeric production has anything to do with whether he starts or not. It’s about chemistry. Right now, Bass starting is working for both Bass and Sully, despite Bass’ mediocre showing today.

      I agree on the urgency part, but it seems the team gets lethargic when KG takes a seat, and his return to the floor doesn’t seem to change it for whatever reason. I’ve watched every game so far this season and that’s what I’ve seen so far. Anyone else notice that? They gel in the 1st Quarter, KG goes to the bench, and then a stale fart lingers until halftime. Maybe I’m just seeing things.

  • kg

    what do you guys think of demar derozan playing for the celtics? Looks like Doc Rivers likes him..

    • Brick James

      I wouldn’t mind it in theory – Derozan is solid. But how would we get him? And whose minutes would he take up?

  • Chris

    Interesting prospect, but I don’t see it happening. He’s Toronto’s franchise player. They love him and he seems to like being there, at least for the moment. Perhaps after a few more frustrating years north of the border he’ll go all Vince Carter/T-Mac/Chris Bosh on them and look to a contender. Right now, we wouldn’t be able to pry him away for anything less than Rondo the way I see it.

  • Brick James

    The Rondo-Wilcox chemistry continues to amaze me. They had it last year despite having not ever played with one another before. They share some connection with the game – don’t know what it is or how to explain it, but it’s a great thing to watch.

    • Drew

      I agree 100 percent. It’s something I noticed last season from the get go but it seems no one really talks about it. They connect on fast breaks and high tempo situations better than anyone on this team. It’s beautiful.

    • wil reyes

      It wasnt an instant connection. First games of Wilcox, he couldnt handle rondo’s passes, but it came. It only shoes that Rondo can amplify athletic players.

      Kg and Wilcox are the only ones in the team that can really catch and dunk it.

      Green might wanna improve his off ball game. Set better picks, and roll to the basket.

  • Reggie35RIP

    They finally put it altogether in this one. My cursing at the TV was at an all time low.

    Looked sharp on D and everyone chipped in at the offensive end. Good to see Terry hitting a bunch of shots, he had it going tonight. And also good to see the much talked about bench maintaining the lead until the end of the game, giving the starters a decent rest. A luxury we didn’t have last season.

    Biggest thing overall was just the intensity. First time I’ve really seen it sustained this season. There was a slight lull in the 2nd and early 3rd, but they picked it back up again.

    At the moment Wilcox has probably been the most impressive for me. Even from those first few early games where he didn’t play many minutes he just came straight in and contributed.

    Hopefully this game is the turning point.

  • oldcoach

    They actully played very well against the Nets, just missed a bucket of good shots.

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