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Thursday, January 16, 2014

I'll Permit 1 Win Every 10 Games for the Celtics

If I had my way, the Celtics would lose every game for the rest of this pointless season. Unfortunately, that's not how it works. They are bound to stumble into a win at least every once in a while. Like tonight for instance, Boston (14-26 overall, 9-11 home) snapped its nine-game losing streak with a 88-83 win over Toronto (19-18 overall, 10-10 away) at TD Garden.

The Raptors had actually been playing very well (12-4) since they shipped Rudy Gay to hell, I mean Sacramento. Still, what does it tell you about the Atlantic Division and the Eastern Conference in general that the train wreck Celts could handle them?

Jared Sullinger was the star for Boston, he had a game-high 25 points, career-high 20 rebounds and two steals (his first 20-20 game and first for a Celtic since Kevin Garnett's debut in Boston-November 2007). Any rebuilding project with the C's should involve Sullinger. His style isn't pretty but damn if it isn't effective. Unlike many of the jokers that come in the NBA too early, he knows how to play. He's not going to be a Hall of Famer due to his limited athleticism but that doesn't mean he can't be an All-Star someday.

In a brief cameo with Rajon Rondo ready to be unleashed on Friday vs. Lakers, Phil Pressey made his first NBA start a good one with 10 assists and zero turnovers. Avery Bradley had 20 points, five rebounds and two steals; Jeff Green added 13 points and five rebounds while Kris Humphries also made the most of his rare start with 12 points and eight rebounds.

DeMar DeRozan led Toronto with 23 points and eight rebounds. Without Gay, he desperately needs more help around him. No offense Kyle Lowry (18 points, 12 assists, 7 rebounds). 90-year-old John Salmons was the only other Raptor in double-figures with 13 points off the bench.

Trailing 73-56 entering the fourth quarter, this had no business being a game but Boston is physically incapable of closing out any team. Toronto made it a three-point game a couple times but they couldn't get any closer than that.

This oughta make Tommy Heinsohn happy: Boston shot 11 more free throws (36-25) and hit 14 more (26-12) than bricklaying Toronto. Thanks to Sullinger's dominance, the Celtics grabbed 14 more rebounds (58-44) as a team. The C's also had seven more fast break points (13-6), eight more points in the paint (32-24) and eight more points off turnovers (15-7).

I can't recall a less anticipated Celtics-Lakers (14-25 overall, 5th in Pacific Division) than the one on Friday (7:30, CSN) at the Garden. However, with Rondo's expected return, there at least is a valid reason to tune in for a few minutes. Who knows what to expect from him basically a year removed from tearing his ACL?

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