Friday, November 30, 2012

No Rondo? No Problem!: C's Blaze Way To Gino-Time: 96-78

That's right, GreenHeadz -- It was Gino Time at the Boston Garden and the C's pulled it off without Rajon Rondo!

Actually, let me rephrase that: The Celtics pulled it off without Rajon Rondo being on the floor. Because anyone who thinks that the influence of the C's mercurial, magnificent Maestro wasn't felt all over the Garden last night either doesn't know much about the team or wasn't watching the game.

From the opening tip, the vibe given off by the Green -- from the starting five of Kevin Garnett, Brandon Bass, Paul Pierce, Jason Terry and Courtney Lee down to the last man on the bench (welcome back to the NBA, Kris Joseph!) -- was palpable as the team raced out to an immediate lead that seemed to swell with each quarter. The C's left the first quarter leading by 7 points, but by the break, Portland was under water 56-33 and showing no signs of resurfacing.

The Celtics got a big offensive game from Terry (17 points on 7-11 makes) and solid games from Captain Paul Pierce, doing his point-forward routine to the tune of 12 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists; and Kevin Garnett, who tallied 10 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 block and 1 steal in only 22 minutes of action.

But, the night belonged to the other guys...the ones who have been mostly maligned by certain factions of the sports media and hordes of  impatient fans who have seemed not to care (or understand, perhaps) how difficult it is to integrate 10 out of 15 new personalities into a cohesive, championship-driven unit. To a man, this group seemed to relish the challenge of proving the critics wrong and stepping up to carry the slack left by their suspended superstar point guard and the limited minutes (13:47, to be exact) that were extracted from an ailing Chris Wilcox.

Courtney Lee was phenomenal on defense, harassing and humiliating the Blazers while racking up 10 points, 7 boards, 5 assists, and a sticky 3 steals. If Lee was phenomenal on defense, Jeff Green was all-around spectacular scoring a season-high 19 points off the bench on 6-13 shooting and snatching 4 steals and 3 rebounds with 2 assists and a block to complete his "Mean Jeff Green" transformation. Jared Sullinger was a revelation of revolution with 9 active points, 8 muscular boards, 2 assists and 2 steals. Leandro Barbosa joined this merry band of thieves with three steals of his own to go with 9 points. In the end, the Boston bench outscored Portland's subs 41-22.

The C's moved to 9-7 on the season and will now attempt to replicate tonight's effort against the 7-7 Milwaukee Bucks, who are coming off an 85-95 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves. It will be interesting to see if either team is affected by their back-to-back obligations.

Box Score


Boston Celtics vs. Milwaukee Bucks
Saturday, December 1st, 2012
8:30 pm
@ BMO Harris Bradley Center, Milwaukee

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