The Boston Celtics are at their best when they’re operating as a team at both ends of the court. Saturday’s third quarter was an example of how great the team can be when it’s clicking on all cylinders.
Boston closed out the final 2:34 of the third quarter with a 13-2 run to open up a 79-64 lead over the visiting Raptors. Five Celtics combined to shoot 5-of-6 from the field during that stretch, with the only miss being Rajon Rondo’s attempt to beat the final buzzer from 3-point range. The most telling stat of all, however, is that all five of those field goals were assisted.
Jason Terry was the key cog in that run thanks to his two 3-pointers, both of which were both assisted by Rajon Rondo. Rondo accounted for four of the five assists during the run, and Jeff Green also pitched in three points and an assist while the C’s blew the game open.
The Celtics’ efficient offense allowed the defense to dig in at the other end. Once that happened, Toronto had no chance at success. Boston’s stifling defense limited the Raptors to just two shot attempts while forcing three turnovers during that stretch.
This display by the Celtics was the epitome of team basketball. They shared the ball on offense and covered for each other on defense. The result? A second-half domination of the Raptors that was sparked by that 13-2 run to close the third period.
Key Box Score Line
Since Rajon Rondo is getting quite a bit of attention today, let’s give Jared Sullinger some love. The rookie out of Ohio State notched the first double-double of his career today with 12 points and 11 rebounds off of the bench.
Sullinger had previously fallen down the totem pole in Doc Rivers’ rotation. He averaged just 11 minutes a game over Boston’s last four contests. His fantastic play today, combined with a Celtics blowout win, allowed him to be on the court for more than 26 minutes.
This may have been the first double-double of Sullinger’s career, but it surely won’t be the last. This is one of many, and it may be the key to the rookie carving out more minutes in the rotation.
Box Score Nuggets
- The Celtics outshot the Raptors 56.6 percent to 42.9 percent.
- Rajon Rondo recorded 20 assists for the second time this season.
- Boston's assist total of 37 matched its rebounding total.
- Jared Sullinger notched his first career double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds.
- Toronto had six players score in double-figures yet scored only 89 total points.
- The Celtics scored just one fast break point in the game.
- Boston scored at least 28 points in three of the four quarters.
- Jason Terry scored 20 points on 7-of-10 shooting, including 4-of-7 from downtown.
- Jonas Valanciunas of the Raptors fouled out of the game in just 19:20 of playing time.
- Both teams committed 23 fouls.
- The Celtics never trailed, leading by as many as 24 points.
- Kevin Garnett scored 15 points in just 17 minutes of playing time.
- Only two Raptors players made more than half of their shots.
Quote of the Night
I can’t. It’s an offense in itself. Doc Rivers' response when asked to explain Rajon Rondo's floor game