Ford Keys to the Game: Celtics 114, 76ers 108
Celtics 114, 76ers 108 - Philadelphia, PA
By Marc D'Amico, February 5, 2014
Rajon Rondo has done nothing but win since he came into the league in 2006. He went public on Tuesday by telling the media that he expects for that trend to continue during close games now that he’s back in the Celtics lineup.
“Myself and the guys, we think it’s time that we can’t lose those type of games continuously,” Rondo said about games that go down to the wire. “We have to come up with some wins in those close-game situations.”
Boston is sure to come up with more of those W’s now that they have their captain back.
Rondo is fresh off of dishing out six assists during the fourth quarter of Sunday’s win over the Magic. He put the team on his back and led it to a victory. He didn’t replicate that performance on Wednesday, but he set the wheels in motion for the most important play of the night.
The Celtics led by four points with slightly more than a minute to go when Rondo grabbed a rebound off of an Evan Turner miss. He brought the ball down court and didn’t hesitate in setting up Boston’s offense.
Brandon Bass and Jared Sullinger met Rondo on the left wing and set a staggered, double-screen for their captain. Rondo came off of the screen to his right, hesitated, then drove down the right side of the lane for a shot attempt.
At least that’s what the Sixers thought was happening.
Two of Philadelphia’s defenders rose up to content a would-be Rondo shot as the point guard rose into the air. Rondo, however, read the defenders and slipped a wrap-around, bounce pass under their arms and right into the hands of Sullinger, who stood directly under the basket. Sullinger put home a layup and was fouled by Thaddeus Young. He made the free throw to put the Celtics on top 112-105 with 59.4 seconds remaining.
Nearly a minute still remained on the clock but that play essentially sealed the game for Boston. Philadelphia never cut the lead to fewer than four points and the C’s went on to a 114-108 win.
Rondo sure wasn’t kidding with his comments on Tuesday, was he? He has now played a major role in leading the Celtics to their second consecutive victory that came down to the final minutes.
Key Box Score Line
There surely are nights during which Celtics fans become frustrated with Jeff Green. There are other nights when they become enamored with him. Wednesday night was a case of the latter.
Green was absolutely electric in the third quarter of Boston’s 114-108 win over the Sixers Wednesday night in Philadelphia. The third period was when he piled up nearly half of his game-high 36 points. Green scored 17 points in the third on 4-of-8 shooting, which included a 3-of-5 performance from long range.
As his point total indicates, Green did plenty of work outside of the third period as well. He also scored seven points in the first, six in the second and six more in the fourth.
This was a night in which it felt like Green was doing it all. He wasn’t just scoring. He was also rebounding and defending, too. Green finished with eight boards and two blocks on the night.
Box Score Nuggets
- Philadelphia had seven players score in double-figures, while Boston had just five.
- Both teams dished out 27 assists.
- Tony Wroten's 18 points off the bench for Philly nearly matched Boston's entire bench total of 19 points.
- Jeff Green scored a game-high 36 points.
- The Celtics made four more free throws (24) than the Sixers attempted (20).
- Green played a big part in that, as he made nine of his 12 attempts from the free-throw line.
- Jared Sullinger stuffed the stat sheet with 19 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and four blocked shots.
- Thaddeus Young led the 76ers with 20 points.
- The teams combined to score a whopping 104 points in the paint (58 by Philadelphia, 46 by Boston).
- The Sixers shot 10-of-11 on fast break attempts.
- Rajon Rondo flirted with a triple-double for the second consecutive game, finishing with eight points, nine rebounds and 11 assists.
- Brandon Bass scored 18 points on 7-of-10 shooting.
- Neither team outscored the other by more than three points in any of the final three quarters.
Quote of the Night
What we've talked about as a team the last week is, get down the floor at a better rate. Get our spacing to the corners a little bit better, and I thought we got some things in transition that way.
Brad Stevens on what Boston is trying to do offensively