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Monday, November 12, 2012

Celtics Record Their First Quality Win Of 2012-13 Regular Season

Well that was more like it. In their seventh game of the 2012-13 regular season, the Celtics finally decided to show up and display some of the traits that make them one of the teams to beat in the Eastern Conference. Boston (4-3, 3-1 away) held off Chicago (4-3, 3-3 home) 101-95 tonight at United Center.

In getting over .500 for the first time, the Celts also notched a victory against a legitimate playoff team. This wasn't the Wizards or Bucks, the Bulls aren't a title contender without Derrick Rose in the lineup but they are still pretty damn tough to play against.

Rajon Rondo (20 points, 10 assists, 9 rebounds, 5 steals) just missed out on a triple-double but he continued his double-digit assist streak (31 games and counting, 3rd longest in NBA history). All five Celtics starters were in double figures and their bench outscored Chicago's 27-18, something they've struggled with in this young season. Brandon Bass had 16 points, Kevin Garnett scored 15, Jason Terry added 13 and Paul Pierce notched 10.

I officially dub Luol Deng (game-high 26 points, 11 rebounds) and Joakim Noah (17 points, 11 rebounds) Celtics killers, assuming I hadn't done that already. It seems like they always have great games when they face Boston. Carlos Boozer had 15 points and former Celtics guard Nate Robinson put up 11 points and seven rebounds filling in for Rose and Kirk Hinrich, who got hurt over the weekend.

Boston shot 50.6% to 45.9% for Chicago. The Bulls made eight more free throws (24-16) but at least the Celts hit all their free throws, four costly misses down the stretch in the fourth killed Chicago. You'd expect the Bulls to have more rebounds (40-34) but the C's had four more assists (28-24), four more blocks (5-1) and three more steals (9-6) so there. Most telling, Tom Thibodeau's team had six more turnovers (14-8).

The Celtics jumped out to a 33-27 lead after one quarter and a 58-46 halftime advantage (their second largest margin of the season). Both teams scored 24 in the third quarter and Chicago made it interesting in the fourth (25-19) but they couldn't complete the rally.

Boston returns home for one game: they host Al Jefferson and the Jazz (4-4) on Wednesday night (7:30 p.m, CSN). Utah beat Toronto 140-133 tonight in triple overtime, no joke. Hopefully, they will be a bit fatigued from that insane contest as the Celtics shoot for their first three-game win streak of the season.

UPDATE 11/14: Rookie forward Kris Joseph and rookie center Fab Melo were sent to the Portland Red Claws today, Boston's D-League team. They have just opened training camp and it makes perfect sense since Melo has yet to play for the C's in the regular season and Joseph played once (for three minutes). They need to play a ton of minutes and that won't happen anytime soon with the Celtics.

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