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Rondo, Celtics Suffocate Pacers to Earn Much Needed Win

(NBA.com)

The Boston Celtics, losers of four in a row going into Friday night, pulled away from the Indiana Pacers for a 94-75 victory. The Celtics led by as many as 24 in what was one of their most complete efforts of the season

The Celtics got 18 points each from Rajon Rondo and Kevin Garnett, along with 10 boards from Jared Sullinger and 35 points from an aggressive  bench. The Celtics held the Pacers to just under 32 percent shooting on the game.

Rondo was aggressive early, taking it to the hoop and getting shots in the paint on the Celtics’ first three possessions. A combination of fouls, turnovers, and a boatload of missed shots caused the Celtics to end the first with a measly 15 points, their lowest-scoring first quarter all year. Thanks to some strong defense,  they were luckily only down a single point, 16-15.

Bradley, Lee, Celtics’ Hustle the Difference

The Celtics rattled off a 17-3 run to pull away in the second, and took a 36-23 lead on a Rajon Rondo jump shot midway through the period. The overall malaise and  sluggishness that had gripped the Celtics over the last few weeks was shaken off as the C’s displayed the passion, aggressiveness, and hustle that had been severely lacking.

Whether it was Avery Bradley and Courtney Lee getting easy fast-break buckets off of steals, or Kevin Garnett diving over a row of chairs after a loose ball, the Celtics were clearly alive tonight. Rondo was playing at high speed and attacked the rim, and Roy Hibbert, over and over.

The Celtics led by 12 at the half, and made sure not to take their collective foot off the gas pedal while they continued to pull away in the third quarter. All the Celtics showed hustle on defense, with Bradley and Jeff Green both coming up with big blocks in the third, prompting announcer Mike Gorman of CSNNE to dub it their “best defensive effort of the year.”

Garnett Ejected in Chippy Fourth Quarter

The game turned chippy in the fourth, with Sullinger and Tyler Hansbrough going at it down low in the paint. KG earned a Flagrant 2 foul and subsequent ejection for a hard foul across the head of Hansbrough, a call which coach Doc Rivers strongly disagreed with.

When Leandro Barbosa  and Jarvis Varnado entered the game with a few minutes left in regulation to signify that the blowout was complete for the Celtics. Even though KG was no longer around to enjoy it, it was finally Gino time again at the Garden.

The Celtics will look to keep their momentum rolling Saturday night when they square off with the Atlanta Hawks at 7:00 PM in Atlanta. The Hawks are coming off a close loss to the Pistons.

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