Rajon Rondo finished the night with 11 assists, nine rebounds and seven points as the Boston Celtics avenged their loss from Friday night to the Philadelphia 76ers, 92-79, Saturday night from the TD Garden in Boston, MA.
After losing a thrilling overtime game to the Sixers Friday night, it was all Boston from the opening tip from their friendly confines of the Garden.
Everyone got involved early, with Jason Terry and Brandon Bass combining for more makes in the first two minutes of the game (2) than they made over 67 minutes played between the two in Philly (1). The Celtics got out to an 8-2 lead and held a 24-16 advantage after one.
Boston shot 52 percent and held the Sixers to 33 percent from the field, looking much more like the younger, up-and-coming team versus the team with a combined 57 years of experience in their starting lineup.
After having a team-high 26 points the previous night, Evan Turner was virtually silent in the first half of the contest. He had four points in the first quarter, on back-to-back makes, and didn't make another shot for the next 18 minutes. Boston's defense was stifling, holding the 76ers to just 23 percent shooting, while switching fluidly on the defensive end and positioning themselves near the basket to hold a 19-16 rebound advantage at the half.
Paul Pierce had 13 points, Rondo had five assists and the bench chipped in a combined 11 points to hold a 48-28 lead, Boston's best defensive output of the year thus far.
Just as soon as the Celtics got comfortable though, a 13-0 run from Philadelphia brought the Sixers right back into the game. Veteran forward Kevin Garnett took a breather with 7:26 left in the third quarter. When he checked back in at the 1:05 mark, Philly had cut the lead to eight points.
Boston relied on outside jumpers, with four shots coming from 20-feet or further, as the Sixers pushed their way back into the game by attacking the hoop and spreading the ball. Thaddeus Young had 12 points in the quarter and Boston led 70-57 at the start of the fourth quarter.
As Young sat the first four minutes of the fourth, Boston extended their lead back to 15, as they looked to put the game away. The Celtics maintained their defensive intensity and enjoyed a relaxing fourth quarter in which they were able to pull the Boston Big 3 with just under three minutes remaining in the game.
Garnett led the Celtics with 19 points, while Green again led the bench with 16 points of his own. Young had 22 points to lead the Sixers.
On the night, Philadelphia shot 39 percent from the field, while Boston connected on 53 percent of their attempts
Pierce recorded his 4,000 career assist in the second quarter of Saturday night's game.
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