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Friday, November 21, 2008

Sorry A.I., Rajon Rondo is the future

A few months back, when I purchased tickets to see the Detroit Pistons vs. the Boston Celtics at the Garden, I expected a tight early season meeting of the Eastern Conference's two best teams.

With that said, the result was surprising as the C's (11-2) absolutely dominated the Pistons (8-4) in a 98-80 romp last night.

Detroit started the game on a 13-2 run but as quick as you noticed that, the Celts were tying it up as the teams each had 21 in the first quarter.

Boston's bench was the key to the game as Tony Allen (13 points, 6 rebounds, 3 steals, 2 blocks), Eddie House (11 points) and Leon Powe (7 points, 7 rebounds) gave the C's energy and production in extended playing time.

As a result, Boston took a 49-40 lead into the break and never looked back as they led 77-57 going into the fourth.

The Big Three had collectively as bad a game as you'll ever see from them: Kevin Garnett (15 points), Ray Allen (12 points) and Paul Pierce (9 points) got to sit out the entire fourth quarter though which is vital since they play tonight and Sunday on the road.

In a game full of so many stars, one player that you might not expect, totally stood out above the rest: Rajon Rondo. I can't decide who is more appropriate named Mr. Jekell and Hyde, between Rondo or Tony Allen but it's clear that when Rondo is on, he's one of the great young stars in the NBA.

Rondo had a game-high 18 points, eight assists and three steals. Kendrick Perkins added 10 rebounds.

The Pistons never seemed into the game. Allen Iverson paced Detroit with the quietest 16 points I've ever seen. Rasheed Wallace (13 points) and Richard Hamilton (12 points) didn't leave any imprint on the game before retreating to the bench for good.

Jason Maxiell had 10 points for the Pistons.

It's way too early to say whether the Chauncey Billups for A.I. swap was a success for Detroit or not but as of now, the early returns are not looking good. Sure, the Pistons beat the Lakers last week but A.I. is not at the point in his career where he can lead a team (while Ba Ba Ba Billups still can as he's showing in Denver). Iverson's game has been reduced to driving the lane, jumping in the air then passing back out. He's not a total bum by any means but it barely resembles the sure bet Hall-of-Famer in his Sixers days.

The Celts shot 49.3% to Detroit's 42.6%. Boston had five more rebounds (42-37), five more assists (22-17), four more steals (12-8) and four less turnovers (16-12).

Tonight is KG's first official visit back to Minnesota. Last year, he was out with the abdominal injury so he couldn't play. He still garnered an awkward pre-game ceremony but this game should be much more enjoyable for Garnett and the Timberwolves' fans.

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