Rajon Rondo had 18 points, seven assists and five rebounds as the Boston Celtics snapped a four-game losing streak, beating the Indiana Pacers, 94-75, Friday from TD Garden in Boston, MA.
Boston head coach Doc Rivers needed to do something to shake up the slumping Celtics.
So he went back to what got them to the NBA Playoffs last season, a starting lineup including Brandon Bass, not Jason Collins.
Bass responded by grabbing four rebounds and blocking two shots in the first quarter, as the Celtics trailed Indiana 16-15 after one.
Led by Rondo, the Celtics used a 17-3 run to blow through the second quarter and take a huge 13-point lead. Throughout the quarter, tight defense, crisp rotations and on-ball tenacity held Indiana in check and allowed the Celtics to take a 47-35 lead into the half.
Rondo had 10 in the second alone, as he was aggressive from the opening tip and Courtney Lee was possibly the most surprising Celtic in the quarter. Lee didn't show much on the stat sheet, but he played great defense and was a solid pairing with Avery Bradley while on the floor.
Other than a Jeff Green layup and a Jason Terry free throw, every point scored in the third quarter was from one of the core four– Paul Pierce, Bradley, Rondo or Kevin Garnett– as the Celtics pushed their lead even further, closing out the third leading 69-51.
For the second-straight quarter, Boston would extend their lead to over 20, while forcing turnovers on defense and sprinting to the ball as it changed hands.
At the five minute mark, with the game well out of hand, the Celtics were able to pull most of their starters and enjoy Gino Time.
Pierce scored 13 and grabbed six rebounds, while Garnett notched 18 points to tie Rondo for a team-high on the evening. Lee scored 13 points off the bench and chipped in five rebounds over 22 minutes.
Hansbrough scored 19 points off the bench to lead the Pacers.
Indiana shot just 31 percent from the field, as the Celtics connected on 44 percent of their attempts.
Garnett was ejected in the fourth quarter for a questionable flagrant two, when he slapped Tyler Hansbrough in the face in an attempt to swipe the ball from him.
Boston will travel to Philips Arena Saturday to match up with Josh Smith and the Atlanta Hawks at 7:00 pm ET.
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