Rajon Rondo dished out 20 assists, Jared Sullinger recorded his first career double-double, and the Boston Celtics notched their first decisive victory of the season, waxing the hapless Toronto Raptors 107-89 in Saturday’s matinee tip-off. In the “aren’t you a sight for sore eyes” department, the win gave Celtics fans a long overdue look at this:
Jason Terry scored a game high 20 points, connecting on four of his seven three-point attempts along the way. Paul Pierce chipped in 19 points and 6 rebounds, while Kevin Garnett kicked in 15 and 5 in only 17 minutes of action.
The Celtics pounded the ball inside early, getting 14 of their first-quarter points from within the paint as they raced out to a 30-17 lead. The early onslaught of high-percentage shot attempts paced them to a searing 14-19 (73.7 percent) shooting mark in the first 12 minutes.
Though they would falter some in the second quarter, scoring 17 points off 6-17 (35.3 percent) from the field, the hands would generally stay hot for the duration of the game. The aforementioned cold stretch allowed the Raptors to whittle Boston’s lead down to two by the third quarter’s halfway point. After a stretch of bucket trading, Jeff Green found Jared Sullinger for a driving layup that kicked off a 19-2 Celtics run that gave them an 85-64 lead with 10 minutes to play. Boston went 6-8 during the stretch, which bridged a 12-17 (70.6 percent) third quarter and an 11-19 (57.9 percent) fourth.
By game’s end, the Celtics had connected on a season high 56.6 percent of their field goal attempts. Terry’s 20 points and Rondo’s 20 dimes were also season highs. The stone-faced Boston floor general hit the Jackson mark for the sixth time in his career, extending his streak of games with double-digit assists to 33 in the process.
He also lofted one, two, three alley-oops to boxing gym owner Chris Wilcox, bringing everyone but this one kid sleeping off a Dew binge to their feet. The first step on the road to recovery is recognizing that you have a problem.
Sullinger’s game was easily the best of his nascent career. His 12 points, 11 rebounds, and 4 offensive rebounds were all high watermarks. His 26 minutes of action were the most he’d seen since a 30-minute run against the Wizards two weeks ago.
For their part, the shorthanded Raptors struggled on the offensive end. Andrea Bargnani and John Lucas led the way with 15 points apiece, and Jose Calderon, Linas Kleiza, and rookie Terrence Ross each chipped in 10. The team shot 42.9 percent from the field, well enough below the league average of 44.3, and missed 10 of their 31 free throw attempts. Rookie sensation Jonas Valanciunas was wholly ineffective, fouling out after tallying 3 points and 2 rebounds in 19 minutes. It reminded us of when we would deliberately foul out of the all-too-frequent blowouts endured by our Freshman hoops team mainly just to record something of note in the stat sheet.