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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Huzzah, The Celtics Are Fun To Watch Again

Say this for the Celtics without Rajon Rondo (and Jared Sullinger), they might not be nearly as talented but they sure are enjoyable to watch. Rather than having one guy dribble for most of the 24-second clock then figure out a play, they share the basketball, play defense and everyone seems to pull their weight more equally. Tonight, Boston (25-23, 8-14 away) won 99-95 at Toronto's (17-32, 12-13 home) Air Canada Centre, their fifth straight victory since Rondo went down.

Kevin Garnett had a season-high 27 points and 10 rebounds, Courtney Lee added 15 points, Paul Pierce struggled from the field (2 for 11) but still had 12 points, 11 rebounds and six assists, Avery Bradley scored 11 points and even Brandon Bass found his way into double figures with 10 points. That's right, all five Celtics starters plus Leandro Barbosa (14 points off the bench) all scored 10+ points. Not something you saw much earlier in the season.

Even though they had lost three of their last four in Toronto, beating the Raptors isn't normally worth a damn but this was at least notable because Toronto was up 10 (79-69) heading into the fourth quarter. After getting smoked in the third quarter (34-19), the C's rallied for an excellent fourth quarter (30-16).

Former UConn star Rudy Gay, acquired from Memphis last week, filled the stat sheet with 25 points, 12 rebounds and four steals. Kyle Lowry had 18 points, seven assists and four steals, Amir Johnson had a double-double (16 points, 12 rebounds) and DeMar Derozan put up 13 points. Andrea Bargnani notched 13 points off the bench for the Raptors.

This game was just an appetizer for the main course tomorrow night back in Boston: Celtics vs. Lakers (23-26). It's the first of two meetings between the bitter rivals and it gets the full primetime experience (8 p.m., TNT) despite the fact that LA has been the NBA's biggest disappointment so far this season. Pau Gasol hurt his foot last night so he'll be out but Kobe Bryant is still on the Lakers so it should be a great atmosphere as Boston goes for their sixth win in a row.

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