The Celtics and Nets have played 3 times this season already.
Nov. 15 - With Rondo hurt, the Nets rode a strong Joe Johnson effort to victory. Things didn't go so well for rookie Jared Sullinger.
Jared Sullinger vividly recalled the last time he played at the Barclays Center. "I didn’t do well," the Boston Celtics rookie forward said. "(Coach) Doc (Rivers) was mad at me and pulled me out of the game early and I didn’t play again."
Nov. 28 - Rondo took offense at Humphries and his foul on Garnett and a shoving match led to his ejection and the end of his double digit assist streak.
Thankfully yesterday went a little better for both players.
Rondo, hurt in the first meeting and thrown out of the second after shoving Nets forward Kris Humphries into the courtside seats, outplayed counterpart Deron Williams and helped the Celtics take control early.
Go figure; having your best player in the game for the whole game helps your chances of winning.
Rondo definitely seems to enjoy the challenge of facing the best point guards in the game and he also seems to love stepping up on National television. But he's also been more consistently good-to-great this year than he has ever before, so perhaps this is just the new norm.
It is his supporting cast that has been a big more suspect. Jeff Green and Jason Terry both had solid games yesterday, but it was the rookie that stood out on Christmas.
"Jared was sensational," Rivers said after the rookie made 6 of 7 shots from the floor and grabbed all seven rebounds off the defensive backboard. "I saw him tonight and I didn't see a rookie at all. He doesn't get frustrated easily anymore. I think other people around the country saw that Jared could play a little."
Now the cynical side of me could point out that Doc's last comment about the country seeing what Jared can do might just be a hint at an underlying desire to upgrade the roster, perhaps with Sullinger as bait. But we'll leave that off for another day.
The praise was deserved and he has the right attitude to boot.
"Just because I had more points than I have in the past doesn't mean it's my best game," Sullinger said. "I'm still learning how to play with this group, still learning how to fit in. But I have to say it was a lot of fun out there.
The kid had a good game and the new face of the team did as well. It helps that both were able to finish the game but their play and composure allowed them to finish and finish well.
What a difference a good game makes. Now if we could only string a few of these together.