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The Celtics led by as much as 24 points on Friday night and were well on their way to an easy blowout win over the inferior Kings. At the half, the C’s led 57-37. As a result, they entered the third quarter on auto-pilot (it seems they’ve done that all year…), and by the midpoint of the third quarter, the Celtics had lost the giant edge, and only led 80-70.
Then, Superman came in the game.
No, not Dwight Howard, but the Celtics’ super hero, also known as Rajon Rondo. The record-setting point guard (more on that later) quickly dished out three assists to keep the C’s alive. The Celtics needed every last assist from Rondo, and he delivered in a big way in a 94-86 win.
Rondo set a couple marks in Friday’s game. He dished out a career-high 18 assists to go with six points and three steals, earning the praise of teammate of Kevin Garnett.
“He affects the game in so many different ways,” Kevin Garnett (18 points, 13 rebounds) said. “You want your point guard setting the tone every night. You want your point guard leading us. I’m telling you, man, he’s just growing up in front of us. It’s great to watch.”
With 18 assists, Rondo moved past Sherman Douglas (1993-94) for the second-best mark in team history. He needs just 20 assists the rest of the way to pass Bob Cousy (1959-60) for the most in club history, though Tommy Heinsohn would say that assists were calculated differently back in the day.
Also, Rondo passed Celtics legend…(wait for it)…Rick Fox with three steals to get the top mark in team history (170).
In addition, Paul Pierce set a franchise record with 5,373 free throws made, passing John Havlicek’s 5,369.
With the win, the Celtics sealed up their third straight division title. I know, they haven’t really had a worthy challenger the last three years (in a division with the Raptors, Sixers, Nets, and Knicks, how would that have been possible?), but the Celtics are starting to create a winning culture in Boston.
Three years of sustained success is pretty impressive. It remains to be seen, however, if the Celtics can keep it up. Ray Allen may not be here next year, and Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett will be a year older. But, that also means that Rajon Rondo will be a year older too, but will his improvement be enough? I don’t know, let’s just worry about this season first.
Allow me to give some praise to the Kings’ Superman, Carl Landry. They traded their franchise (Kevin Martin) for him, so they must see something they like.
The 2007 second round pick out of Purdue poured in 30 points and eight rebounds in one of his best games of the year. But, despite his effort, he could not bring the Kings back to power (I know, I waited until I was more than 400 words in to use my first corny reference to being a “King”).
Next up for the C’s is the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday afternoon. Nate Robinson did not return to the game on Friday after injuring his ankle, and may not be ready for the Spurs on Sunday.