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Rajon Rondo had himself a career game in the 108-100 Celtics win. While he might have had the potential signing of point guard Sam Cassell looming in the back of his mind, Rondo still showed that without a doubt he’s the top point guard on the Celtics, and perhaps the Atlantic Division. His career-high 16 assists powered the C’s to take a 2-1 season series lead over the Bobcats.
The Celtics led by as much as 17 points in this one, but the Bobcats had themselves a nice second half (again) to keep the C’s on their toes for the rest of the game. Center Kendrick Perkins went for 19 points (thanks Rondo!), 9 rebounds, and 5 blocks. What a monster! He had a hot hand especially in the first half as the Celtics were building one of their 17-point leads.
The Bobcats did whatever they could to end the C’s 3-game losing streak. They played really hard all game, but this game came down to the talent. The talented players on both sides performed the best. Since the C’s have more talent, they also finished with more points. Jason Richardson came up huge again vs. the Celtics, scoring 30 points with 6 rebounds and 2 steals. Raymond Felton finished with 22 points and 10 assists in the losing cause.
Finally, the Celtics were able to fend off the Bobcats. If you recall, in their first encounter, Ray Allen hit a miracle 3-pointer after a steal of a late inbounds pass to win the game. Later in the year, the Bobcats embarrassed the Celtics at home in their worst home loss of the season (their only double-digit home loss). I’m sure the C’s had both games on their mind before heading into this game. It had to work as motivation.
Next up for the C’s is a Sunday night game against the Hawks. This is a game the Celtics should win, but the Hawks have been playing better since acquiring Mike Bibby and are fighting for their playoff lives. Hopefully the C’s can stay focused on this game instead of looking ahead to Wednesday’s contest against the Detroit Pistons.