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When is the last time anyone has said that the Celtics got an easy win? Think hard. OK, it’s been just nine days (when the Celtics beat the Bobcats 104-80), but it always seems like it’s been an eternity since the Celtics won a game with ease. They really needed an easy win on Friday night against the Pacers, as the team was coming off two tough losses and was playing their third game in four days.
The Celtics did indeed win in blowout fashion on Friday night against Indiana, earning the 122-103 victory. In front of a home crowd that just witnessed the embarrassing loss to the Grizzlies two days earlier, the Celtics won in dominant fashion, carrying a 20-point lead at halftime and never looking back. Paul Pierce led six Celtics in double figures with 20 points in three quarters as the team coasted the rest of the way.
How easy was the win?
Well, the no Celtic played more than 29 minutes, which says a lot. Building such a huge lead early on meant a lot for the team, and allowed Doc Rivers to limit the minutes of his tired starters. Three games in four days will affect any player, especially a trio of veterans in their early-to-mid-30′s, so rest was a must.
When the starters weren’t in, the bench didn’t miss a beat. Glen Davis filled the stat sheet with 15 points, two boards, one assist, one steal, and two blocked shots in 25 minutes. Nate Robinson was even more effective, collecting 15 points on five three pointers.
Michael Finley saw his most extensive action with the C’s, finishing 4/5 from the field with nine points and three rebounds in nearly 18 minutes.
There was even a Shelden Williams sighting!!! The big guy played just under six minutes, tallying two points, one rebound, and one assist.
Rajon Rondo continued his coming out tour across the NBA, helping his team beat the Pacers with a 16-point, 11-assist night. He’s clearly taken over as the team’s most important player. Two years ago, who would’ve thought that would happen so fast?
Historically, Rondo’s 618 assists this season rank sixth-best in club history. He needs a total 716 to pass Bob Cousy for the best mark in team history. Nearly 90 assists in 18 remaining games? I say the record’s his to lose.
The Celtics are just 18-18 since a memorable win on Christmas Day against the Magic. Over the first half of March, the C’s have faced a group of crappy opponents. In those games against the Pistons, Bobcats, 76ers, Wizards, Bucks, Grizzlies, and Pacers, the Celts finished 5-2, but really should’ve gone 7-0 and should not have had as much trouble as they did.
The road ahead for the rest of the month is quite bumpy, featuring Sunday’s clash with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Over the rest of March, the C’s face off top teams like the Rockets, the Mavericks, the Jazz, the Nuggets, the Spurs, and the Thunder. By the end of the month, we will know where the Celtics stand. Will this team be championship material? Can they even survive the rough schedule? We will see.