Celtics 94, Bobcats 82: Boston Beats Charlotte Without Big Three
Rajon Rondo scored 20 and had 16 assits as the Boston Celtics downed the Charlotte Bobcats, 94-82, without their Big Three of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen. Brandon Bass and Avery Bradley each scored 22 points.
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Garnett averaged 20.0 points, 10.8 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.3 steals and 1.0 blocks per game during the week as the Celtics finished a grueling week at 4-1. They defeated the Miami Heat on the road, outlasted the Atlanta Hawks on the road and finished a back-to-back-to-back set with the Toronto Raptors, New Jersey Nets and Charlotte Bobcats at 2-1.
Garnett has been steadily great since the All-Star break, averaging 17.5 points and 8.9 rebounds as opposed to 14.4 points and 7.9 rebounds beforehand.
The 35-year old had 24 points and nine rebounds during Boston's 115-107 victory against the Heat on April 10 while holding Chris Bosh to 13 points and nine rebounds on five of 13 shooting.
The Boston Celtics sat Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce for the team's third game in three nights Sunday. Rajon Rondo played, however, picking up 20 points, 16 assists and six rebounds in a 94-82 win over the lowly Charlotte Bobcats.
The Celtics held the lead the rest of the game after going up 17-15 on a Brandon Bass jumper with 4:31 to go in the first quarter. Bass finished with 22 points on 9-of-19 shooting from the floor, adding eight rebounds and three blocked shots. Avery Bradley also had 22 points. It was his second time scoring 20-plus this season.
Fan-favorite Greg Stiemsma also made the most out of his extended minutes. He scored just eight points in his 28 minutes on the court, but picked up five rebounds and six blocked shots. He also held center Bismack Biyombo to just 2-for-10 shooting. Defensively, the Celtics held the Bobcats to just 40.5 percent from the floor.
Gerald Henderson led the Bobcats on the night, picking up 22 points and nine rebounds.
Boston is playing this game without any of the Big Three. Early on, the team didn't appear to be missing them. Paul Pierce, the team's leading scorer, stubbed his toe in a win over the Nets on Saturday. Boston's leading rebounder Kevin Garnett is likely sitting to rest. Ray Allen is missing his fourth game in a row with a sore ankle.
Rajon Rondo started out hot for Boston and had 12 points and 7 assists after the first quarter. Brandon Bass chipped in 10 points and 5 rebounds. The C's led, 34-23 after the first quarter against the team with the NBA's worst record. The Celtics double-digit first quarter lead gave them a cushion in the second quarter when the Bobcats started to play much better.
At the half, the Celtics were led by 16 points and 11 assists by Rajon Rondo. Brandon Bass has 11 points at the half after 10 in the first quarter. The Bobcats were led by 12 points by Gerald Henderson. D.J. White chipped in 10 points.
The Boston Celtics played five games last week, winning four and losing one.
The week began on Easter Sunday, when the Celtics absolutely smashed the Sixers and all but locked up the Atlantic Division crown. Kevin Garnett was the game's leading scorer with 20. He also added six rebounds and two assists.The Sixers shot just 38 percent for the game.
Followed by the impressive win over the Sixers, the Cs went into Miami and beat the Heat by eight points. All five Celtics starters scored in double figures, led by Paul Pierce with 27 and KG with 24.
Sandwiched between a win over the Hawks and another over the Nets was a disappointing loss to the Toronto Raptors. The Celtics managed just 79 points against the lowly Raptors, who were led by DeMar Derozan with 22 points. Shots just weren't falling for the Cs, who turned the ball over just eight times.
The Boston Celtics have already clinched a Playoff berth and all but have the Atlantic Division wrapped up. With Dwight Howard resting his back the last two weeks of the season, another Celtics-Hawks first round Playoff series looks inevitable. The only question is, which team will have home court advantage?
Atlanta is one game ahead of the Celtics in the loss column, with seven games remaining. Because the C's have already won the season series over the Hawks, they own the tiebreaker. The teams will play one more time this season, April 20 in Atlanta.
The C's are peaking at the right time; they're 20-8 since the All Star break. They have two wins over the Miami Heat in the month of April – proving they can compete with the class of the Eastern Conference. All signs point to this being the final "Big 3" season in Boston and you can never underestimate the heart of a champion.