The Boston Celtics defeated the Philadelphia 76ers, 114-108, as they won their second consecutive game. Rajon Rondo performed like a star once again, with eight points, 11 assists, and nine rebounds. Jeff Green also had a tremendous game, scoring 36 points on 11-of-18 shooting.
Led by 12 points from Avery Bradley and four assists from Rajon Rondo, Boston scorched Philadelphia for 34 points in the first quarter, to only 23 for Philadelphia. But the 76ers roared back with an extended 19-7 run, taking a 42-41 lead with 4:34 left to go in the half. After Rondo returned to the court, he showed what kind of impact he can make, leading the Celtics with assist after assist. He had nine total, as Boston led 56-47 at halftime.
Jeff Green exploded for 17 points in the third quarter, scoring 13 straight at one point for the Celtics. They led 88-79 with less than two seconds left in the period, but Tony Wroten drilled a 58-foot three-pointer to bring Philadelphia within six.
The 76ers got off to a fast start in the fourth quarter, cutting Boston's lead to only three. The remainder of the game was tight, with Boston's lead stretching between three and eight points. With about one minute to go, Rajon Rondo called a nifty play to get Jared Sullinger an open layup and a foul. Sullinger hit the free throw, giving the Celtics a 112-105 lead. After a few more free throws and a Peyton Manning-like turnover by Michael Carter-Williams, Boston won, 114-108.
Green led the game with 36 points, but the starting frontcourt of Jared Sullinger and Brandon Bass quietly dominated with 37 combined points. Rondo nearly had a triple-double for the second game in a row, as he moves closer to his star production before his ACL injury. Unfortunately, Avery Bradley re-injured his ankle late in the game, but it doesn't appear to be serious. Chris Johnson played only three minutes in his final game of his 10-day contract.
Rondo looks like Rondo again
Is Rajon Rondo already back in the groove after a year off from basketball? After only two games of spectacular play, it's a little premature to say, but he sure looks like it.
Rondo controlled the game in his season-high 32 minutes, assisting on 11 of Boston's 27 total assists. With eight points and nine rebounds tacked on, the captain came close to another trademark triple-double. He also took two charges, showing confidence in his knee by taking those hits.
Green finds his spots
Brad Stevens said that he wanted to get Jeff Green going offensively by putting him into more favorable positions, and that certainly happened tonight. Green had one of his more efficient games of the season, scoring 36 points on 11-of-18 shooting. He was especially hot from behind the arc, at 5-of-7.
It's games like this that give a glimpse into what Green is capable of when he's on. He drained shots from outside and drove aggressively to the basket, getting to the free throw line 12 times. There's no doubt that having Rondo on the floor helps him, but it will be key that Green finds consistency with this type of production.
Stevens likes prep time
Boston is now 5-4 on the season when they have two or more days off between games, a sign that they are very competitive when given time to prepare. Brad Stevens gave the team a game plan and it was executed quite well. They attempted 35 shots near the rim, hitting 23 of them.
On the defensive end, the Celtics may have allowed 108 points, but it came on 94 attempts. Outside of some stretches when the 76ers had easy transition opportunities, nothing came easy for them. Philadelphia shot only 51 percent near the rim thanks to some stout defense from Jared Sullinger. Once again, Sully is showing the signs of an impactful defensive player.
Michael Carter-Williams is averaging 17.3 points per game and is arguably the Rookie of the Year so far this season; but he was contained tonight after being held to only 11 points. He shot a sloppy 5-for-16, and was allowed to take open jump shots throughout the game. MCW, who often falls out of control, turned the ball over late in the game, basically handing the Celtics the win.
The Celtics will return to TD Garden for a home stand against two Western Conference opponents. On Friday, they'll face the Sacramento Kings, before their match against the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday.