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Saturday, November 27, 2010

Oh hi Rajon Rondo

With all due respect to Deron Williams and Chris Paul, who are better players and more well-rounded, I would still say that Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo is as important to his team as those two superstars or anybody in the NBA outside of maybe Kobe Bryant (ever hear of him?).

Without Rondo, the Celtics are an old bunch of guys whose best years are behind them. With him, they're the best team in the Eastern Conference and the biggest threat to break the Lakers' two year reign at the top.

Thankfully, Rondo's latest absence was only three games to nurse a minor hamstring injury. He was back with a vengeance last night as the Celts (12-4) beat the Toronto Raptors (6-10) 110-101 at the TD Garden.

After the Bruins' no-show in the afternoon, the Cs took care of business against a team that they lost to last Sunday (Rondo's first game out).

Rondo was a tad erratic with eight turnovers but he still put up 14 assists in 36 minutes. Kevin Garnett was the man with 26 points (3 alley-oops) and 11 rebounds. Paul Pierce and Glen Davis scored 18, Ray Allen added 17 and Shaquille O'Neal continues to prove the haters wrong with 16 points and nine rebounds (albeit against a team with no inside presence).

At one point, Toronto used a lineup with five foreign guys so clearly they love to shoot the 3-pointer. Linas Kleiza led the way with 18 points, Leandro Barbosa added 14 points, Peja Stojakovic scored 13, Jose Calderon had 12 points and 15 assists while Andrea Bargnani and Amir Johnson each had 11 points (a far cry from their win vs. Boston in Toronto).

Boston jumped out to a 30-21 lead after the first quarter but Toronto closed it to 58-52 at halftime. The Cs seemingly put it away in the third quarter (28-15) but as usual they got bored with closing it out (34-24 fourth quarter for Raptors) until the bitter end.

As a team, the Celtics shot 53.9% to Toronto's 45.1%. The Raptors made three more 3-pointers (7-4) but the Cs made four more free throws (24-20). Toronto had nine more rebounds (44-35) which is unexplainable but Boston made up for it with seven more assists (33-27), four more steals (6-2), six more blocks (8-2) and six less turnovers (17-11).

Boston needs to clean some things up if they hope to win in Cleveland on Tuesday. The Cavs are not very good but they beat the Celts in the second game of the season.

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