Celtics Overtime is a postgame feature providing extra news, notes and analysis from each game. Boston beat the Atlanta Hawks, 88-86, in overtime Wednesday at TD Garden.
Rajon Rondo is truly a gift from above, isn't he? Sure, he can be inconsistent. But when he's on, he's on. Luckily for the Celtics, Rondo's switch was in the on position during Wednesday's 88-86 OT win against the Hawks in front of a sellout crowd at TD Garden. Rondo had his 19th career triple-double with 10 points, 10 rebounds and 20 assists.
Rondo alone was not the only factor in Boston's thrilling victory (although his performance was a major component). Great games from Kevin Garnett, Brandon Bass and even Mickael Pietrus, who was returning from a concussion, helped to spark the Celtics to their fifth straight win. Below are three talking points to take away from the game.
RONDO, RONDO, RONDO, RONDO, RONDO, RONDO, RONDO
Get the point? Again, the win was not solely because of Rondo, but a triple-double of any kind certainly goes a long way towards winning. Rondo's 20 assists tied a season-high (he also had 20 assists in Boston's overtime win over the New York Knicks at TD Garden in March) and stretched his streak of games with double-digit assists to a remarkable 19 tilts.
"It's just how it is, you win some you lose some," Rondo said. "We kept fighting regardless of the other stuff out there, we stuck together and we followed through and got the win."
"(Rajon) Rondo was sensational; didn't want to come out," Celtics head coach Doc Rivers said. "He said, ‘Because we've got tomorrow off, let me just go.'"
Any time Rondo goes off for a game like this, it seems like the Celtics win. And you know the whole Rondo triple-double on national television dynamic? Wednesday's game was supposed to be on national TV, but ESPN bumped the game to air the Knicks and Bucks. Well, I guess nobody told Rondo, who did his usual national TV thing. The more, the better.
MICKAEL PIETRUS GIVES BOSTON MUCH-NEEDED SPARK
Nobody saw this coming. That is, nobody but Mickael Pietrus, Doc Rivers and Ed Lacerte. Pietrus' return came as a shock to the media and fans, though, who learned that the French swingman would be returning to the lineup after a ten-game absence due to a scary concussion suffered in late March. Pietrus was expected to play between five to ten minutes (according to Rivers), but wound up playing nearly 30. And he looked great.
"I felt great" Pietrus said. "It was just trying to bring that energy because I knew that guys travel light and they are going to need that extra energy and obviously that's what I did and I'm very happy that we could keep winning and stay positive."
Pietrus scored eight points on 3-of-5 shooting to lead all bench scorers in 28:49. Pietrus even saw major minutes in the fourth quarter ( 8:10) and overtime (played five minutes).
"I'm happy that he's back first of all," said Avery Bradley. "I feel like he brings a lot of energy. He's a great shooter, and like I said he just plays with energy and we need that. He helps out a lot."
Coincidentally, Pietrus returned as veteran starter-turned-sixth man Ray Allen was sidelined with a swollen ankle. Allen, who was moved to the bench as Bradley was inserted into the starting rotation, had his ankle well up before Wednesday's game. Thankfully for Boston, Pietrus was able to provide the team with some offense in Allen's absence.
KEVIN GARNETT'S RESURGENCE CONTINUES
Doc Rivers said it best. If there was an All-Star vote now, Kevin Garnett would be atop the centers. Garnett has been playing unbelievably well ever since being moved to the five around the All-Star break. Garnett didn't disappoint Wednesday, finishing with a team-high 24 points and 12 rebounds in 33 minutes.
Garnett's scoring certainly helped, but his rebounding was even more important as he led the team as it out-rebounded Atlanta, 56-39 -- something that really doesn't happen all that often.
"Well, you're not going to see it a whole bunch, but we'll take it tonight," Rivers said. "I mean, we rebounded very well."
Said Rondo: "We did a great job rebounding and that hasn't been what we do best but tonight we did an excellent (job) rebounding the ball."
In closing, the Celtics will go as far as Rondo and Garnett will take them. It's pretty simple: if both are on top of their game, the Celtics are an incredibly tough team to beat. Come playoff time, their play will be critical.