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Sunday, December 9, 2012

Celtics Return The Favor, Beat Sixers A Night After Losing To Them

After a disappointing overtime loss last night in Philadelphia, Boston was able to put it behind them quickly as they dispatched the Sixers (11-9, 4-4 away) 92-79 tonight at TD Garden.

The Celtics (11-9, 7-4 home) were buoyed by their best defensive half of the season as they allowed just 28 points in the first half for a 20-point lead (48-28). The Sixers didn't roll over in the third quarter (29-22) but Boston was able to deadlock them in the fourth (22-22) for a rare easy win against Philadelphia.

I've said all season to anybody that would listen-mostly my dog and cat-that Jeff Green is the Celtics' X-factor. If they are going to get anywhere, they need him to get his game in gear. After a very poor start to 2012-13, he's picked it up in the last five games: 19 points, 18 points, 8 points, 19 points and 16 points tonight. When he wants to be, he is really good with a versatile game that few can match, particularly off the bench.

Kevin Garnett scored 19 points (with no rebounds), Paul Pierce had 13 points and nine assists while Brandon Bass added 10 points and Rajon Rondo notched seven points, 11 assists, nine rebounds and three steals. Jason Terry had nine points while Chris Wilcox (8 points) and Jared Sullinger (7 points, 9 rebounds) continued to give the C's good minutes off the bench.

Thaddeus Young (22 points) still played like an All-Star against Boston for whatever reason but at least Evan Turner (13 points) and Jrue Holiday (11 points, 8 assists, 5 rebounds) were held much more in check than on Friday in Philly.

Boston's bench outscored Philadelphia's 34-21. For the game, the Celtics were on fire from the field (53.3%-39.2%) and they had nine more assists (25-16).

I can't say I'm a fan of this schedule as the Celts have busy weekends then nothing for days. They host the Mavericks (10-10, 3rd Southwest Division) on Wednesday (8 p.m., CSN), who are still without the services of the incomparable Dirk Nowitzki.

O.J. Mayo dropped 40 points tonight in Dallas' win against Houston but what are the odds that ever happens again? It will be Terry's first game vs. his former club that supposedly snubbed him when he became a free agent. That's the start of three games in a row for the C's with the Texas teams: Dallas, at Houston and at San Antonio.

UPDATE 12/9: Chris Wilcox was fined $25,000 by the NBA for flipping off the in-house camera at the game in Philadelphia on Friday night. I didn't see it but I guess the Kiss Cam showed him and Jared Sullinger sitting on Boston's bench. Classic, well worth the fine.

UPDATE 12/10: The Celtics recalled rookie center Fab Melo from the Maine Red Claws.

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