BOSTON - Rajon Rondo's solid shooting helped the Boston Celtics take control of the game early, and the C's cruised to an 81-73 win over the Toronto Raptors in the preseason finale for both teams on Wednesday night at TD Garden.
"The starting lineup looked great today," said Boston Celtics head coach Doc Rivers. "Their speed, offensively they had it rolling. Defensively they were terrific. We turn the ball over too much, even with our starters. When you score 47 points and you shoot 53 percent but you have 10 turnovers and nine turnovers, you've taken away the chance to have a 60-point have because of your turnovers. That was the only thing we didn't like."
Rondo, who finished with 17 points on 6-of-10 shooting, helped get the C's off to an 8-0 run at the start of the game. Boston never looked back, building a 33-20 lead by the six minute mark of the first quarter. Boston closed out the half on an 11-11 run to take a 47-31 lead into the break. Rondo scored 15 of his points in the first half and Greg Stiemsma scored seven.
"He played great. It was good to see," Rivers said about Stiemsma. "It was nice because we played him with some of the starters, which we were trying to do. He can block shots, he can run the floor, he can make the shot from the elbow. That was great when he just jacked it. That was what we wanted him to do. It was a good showing by him."
Toronto whittled down Boston's lead to three, 53-50, with 2:32 to go in the third quarter courtesy of a 19-6 run, but the C's were able to withstand the barrage and build a 67-53 lead by the end of the quarter. Despite being outscored 20-14 in the fourth quarter, Boston was able to regain control and coasted to the win.
Jermaine O'Neal recorded four blocks and had two rebounds in 12 minutes. Brandon Bass finished with 12 points and E'TWaun Moore added 11 points off the bench for Boston, which made 27-of-69 field goals in the win. The Celtics finished with 20 turnovers and 16 assists to go along with nine blocks.
"He was great," Rivers said about O'Neal. "I told Jermaine before the game that we were going to play Greg a lot, we were going to try to get [Chris] Wilcox in one little stretch in the second half. I told him he wasn't going to play a lot, but he's been great."
Boston opens the regular season on Christmas Day against the Knicks in New York City. Meanwhile, Toronto will start its 2011-12 campaign against the Cleveland Cavaliers on December 26.
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