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Saturday, December 8, 2012

I Bet That Rajon Rondo Would Trade His Triple-Double For A Game-Winning Shot

We were all treated to the full Rajon Rondo (16 points, 14 assists, 13 rebounds, 3 steals, 3 blocks) experience tonight since he was easily the best player on the Wells Fargo Center's court. Of course, what everyone will remember most is that he not only missed a jumper at the end of regulation but also slipped and airballed another shot to close out overtime as the Celtics (10-9, 4-5 away) lost 95-94 to the 76ers (11-8, 7-5 home).

The two most frustrating aspects of Rondo's final miss are that Kevin Garnett (17 points, 10 rebounds) passed up a decent look in the post and truthfully, Rondo would have been best served driving to the basket for a layup since the lane appeared open. Every game of basketball needs a winner and loser so Philadelphia's Evan Turner (26 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists) was the hero as he hit the last shot-a midrange jumper.

Great stat courtesy of Celtics radio announcer Sean Grande on Twitter (@SeanGrandePBP): In Rondo's first 22 triple-doubles, the Celts were 21-1. Now they've lost the last two of them-Game 7 vs. Miami in the Eastern Conference Finals and tonight.

I don't know what it is about Turner, Thaddeus Young (17 points, 12 rebounds), Jrue Holiday (15 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals) or the Sixers but they always seem to push the Celtics to the limit. It must be their young legs, they are morphing into the Atlanta Hawks 2.0 when they see Boston. Jason Richardson added 13 points and five steals while Spencer Hawes and his beautiful mullet notched 10 points and six rebounds off the bench.

By losing, Boston wasted a great effort by Paul Pierce (27 points, 5 assists) and his eventual replacement-Jeff Green (19 points, 8 rebounds off the bench). Not to pin the loss on two guys since basketball is a team game but Brandon Bass (2 points on 0 for 1 shooting) and Jason Terry (4 points on 1 for 12 shooting) picked a bad time to both have their worst performances of the season since they are both starters at the moment.

The Celtics shot better (43.2%-37.4%) than the Sixers from the floor and hit four more 3-pointers (6-2) along with five more assists (24-19) and three more blocks (7-4). Boston had seven more fast break points (16-9) but Philadelphia had eight more points in the paint (40-32). This game was lost by the C's since they had 10 more team turnovers (19-9) and the Sixers converted those into a 12-point advantage (21-9).

After losing the first two meetings of the 2012-13 regular season, Boston gets another shot at Philadelphia tomorrow night (7:30 p.m., CSN) at TD Garden. If they can cut down on the turnovers and not leave the most important shots to Rondo, I like their chances. However, I can almost guarantee that it'll be another close contest since that is how it goes when they meet the 76ers and it's the second night of a back-to-back against an Atlantic Division rival.

UPDATE 12/8: The Celtics assigned rookie forward Kris Joseph to the Maine Red Claws.





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