|Patriots’ Defense to Face one of Season’s Toughest Tests in Bears||And Then There Were 16: Celtics to Waive Four Players, Bynum Next?||Chandler Jones Out 1 Month With Hip Injury; Patriots Sign Alan Branch||2014 MLB Playoffs Expert Picks: World Series|
The Celtics showed exactly what they’re made of against Orlando Monday night. They were up by just two points at the half and down by two early in the third quarter…then Paul Pierce took over. He scored 24 points, with 17 coming in the third quarter as the Celtics pulled away to a 107-88.
Rashard Lewis did all he could to help the Magic come back, scoring 30 points on 11-23 shooting, but it was not enough as the team was shorthanded all night. Without injured guards Jameer Nelson, Mickael Pietrus, and Kieth Bogans, the Magic were forced to go with JJ Redick as a starter and just a seven-man rotation overall.
Rajon Rondo had himself a nice game for the Celts, going for 16 points and 12 assists and a steal against only three turnovers. Rondo has been really effecient all year. Just look at the season stats: 6.9 assists, 2.2 steals, 50.8 FG% and only 1.9 turnovers in 18 games. He has definitely elevated his game this year, and in a couple years should be an all-star mainstay.
Also playing well was Kendrick Perkins, who scored eight points and grabbed a team-high 13 rebounds. He also added a blocked shot playing against the NBA’s most dominant center, Dwight Howard. Howard had a relatively off-game though, going for 14 points (5-12 from the field), 15 rebounds, and four block shots. Credit his offensive power outage to Perk’s ever-improving defense.
After winning their ninth in a row, Boston now sits at a conference-best 17-2, two games ahead of the Cleveland Cavaliers. With two wins over the Pistons, and wins over the Cavs and Magic, the Celtics have established themselves once again as the best team in the Eastern Conference…and perhaps the entire NBA.
Next up for the C’s in a busy week is a match Wednesday against Indiana, who handed the Celtics one of their two losses on the season.