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Boston wins third straight because of their… offense? Yup.

Feb 3, 2013, 5:05 PM EST

Paul Pierce, Courtney Lee

The Boston Celtics won their fourth straight game without Rajon Rondo — this one against a title contender from the West (well, contender unless you ask Charles Barkley) — because of their high-powered offense.

You read that right. The Celtics without Rondo and Jared Sullinger abused the fifth-best defense in the NBA this season on their way to a 106-104 win Sunday at home.

It’s not the kind of game that answers the Celtics long-term questions, but it is wins like this that makes sure they make the playoffs this season.

Boston really won this game in the second quarter, when they outscored the Clippers 26-10 to open a 19-point halftime lead. (A lead they almost squandered, but that’s another topic.) It was the Celtics bench that did it — it accounted for 19 of the Celtics points that quarter, led by Jason Terry with 6 (he finished the game with 13 and was a game high +17). The Clippers shot 22.2 percent for the quarter and had 8 turnovers in the 12 minutes, the second game in a row where their vaunted bench decided to take the second quarter off from scoring.

Boston’s bench outscored the Clippers 59-22, if you’re looking for one stat that describes what happened.

This is the second game of the Clippers Grammy road trip where their defense decided to take a game off, and once again it cost them. Boston scored 111.7 points per 100 possessions in this game, which is 11 points per 100 better than its season average. Boston was finding ways to score and the more athletic and longer Clipper front line wasn’t able to stop them.

Yet the Clippers chipped away and chipped away at the lead in the second half and they got it all the way down to a two-point game inside of a minute left. The Clippers shot 58.5 points in the second half and they were led by Eric Bledsoe who had 17 after halftime.

But with it tight, Paul Pierce hit a step-back three with less than three seconds left that was the dagger, on his way to finishing with 22 points. It was vintage Pierce right over a Matt Barnes contest.

Be careful reading too much into this game — both teams were without their star starting point guards. As good as Bledsoe has been, Chris Paul remains the best point guard in the game and Clippers miss what he can do. Boston, without Rondo, is not the same team on either end of the court.

But Boston is winning, which is what gritty veteran teams do. Boston is not going to roll over because of its injuries. And while they may not be a contender they are not going to be an easy playoff out for anyone.

  1. Kiwi - Feb 3, 2013 at 5:22 PM

    Its their 4th straight win

  2. showtimefolks007 - Feb 3, 2013 at 5:28 PM

    This coming from a lakers fan, this team may not contend but this will be a tough out in playoffs, playing as a team anything can happen. Also let’s not forget heat can’t grab rebounds to save their life lol

    King James tell us how under rated you are and how much of a pay cut you took because you couldn’t get it done with cavs. Or I had it hard because I made a joke out of decision on ESPN now people don’t like me

    Oh and I am still waiting got 4-5-6-7 championships

  3. michaeljordanseviltwin - Feb 3, 2013 at 6:24 PM

    Boston had the 27th ranked offense this year in points per possession. I know we all have a lot of respect for Rondo, but as their best offensive player he wasn’t getting the job done.

    Sometimes I wonder if a ball dominating point guard isn’t a bad thing. The Celtics won their only big-3 era championship when Rondo was not part of the big 3. Most championship teams don’t have a great distributing point guard. How many championships have Steve Nash, Chris Paul and John Stockton won? Just a theory.

    • borderline1988 - Feb 4, 2013 at 11:25 AM

      I think there’s an element that you’re missing:
      Defense wins championships. Steve Nash, Chris Paul (and I assume John Stockton) didn’t play on the best defensive teams in the NBA. Also, you’re forgetting Tony Parker. And Lebron James is essentially Miami’s PG.

      Look at the up and coming teams in the NBA…OKC and Chicago both have ball-dominating PGs. And both those teams play exceptional defense, so it wouldn’t surprise me if either of them wins a championship in the years to come.

      There are more than a few ways to build a championship team, but it seems that to win a championship, you need 2 or 3 of the best talents in the league (doesn’t really matter what position they play), and have a great defense. That’s the recipe. The Mavs were a bit of an aberration but otherwise the Lakers, Heat, Celtics and Spurs all look similar in that regard.

  4. halfbaht - Feb 3, 2013 at 6:44 PM

    4th straight! We’re all the haters now? Keep criticising the c’s, they’ll keep shutting you up. Never count out the wounded beast, it’s only better when it’s hurting and angry! #CelticPride

    • badintent - Feb 4, 2013 at 12:24 AM

      Watch out for the spelling police where the haters are they got nothing else to do, I know only too well

  5. j0esixpack - Feb 3, 2013 at 7:43 PM

    I’m not sure if they’ll be able to sustain it but I’d say these guys are trying to convince Ainge not to break things up.

  6. Foul Dwimmerlaik - Feb 3, 2013 at 10:13 PM

    Always remember that with adversities come character building. Well done, C’s. This one coming from a Laker fan.

  7. kavika6 - Feb 3, 2013 at 11:55 PM

    Rondo was as bad for the Celtics as Kobe is for the Lakers. Each team is better off without the ball hog.

    People think Tony Parker isn’t as good as Rondo because he doesn’t average as many assists. It’s called ball movement. Any Spurs player could get the assist because they move the ball so well. They lead the league in assists despite only 7.5 from Parker. Rondo always has to have the ball in his hands so if there is an occasional assist it has to come from Rondo. They’re better off without him.

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