Last night amidst the chaos of college football, the Boston Celtics quietly returned to form at TD Garden, as the Green beat the Toronto Raptors 110-101, exacting revenge for their 102-101 loss in Toronto on November 21. Rajon Rondo, returning to action after missing three games with a strained hamstring, dished 14 assists to help push Boston to victory.
Rondo appeared healthy and ready to lead the Celtics, and he seemed to never miss a beat in running the offense and reassuming his role as Facilitator-in-Chief. Just as before the injury, nothing seemed impossible for Rondo, as he skillfully guided the Celtics to yet another victory, improving to 12-4 overall and 7-1 at the Garden.
Kevin Garnett led the way with 26 points, going 10-for-18 from the field and 6-for-6 from the free throw line, as well as grabbing 11 rebounds. KG put on one of his best performances in quite some time, as this sort of dominance and explosiveness has appeared somewhat muted since his knee injuries of 2009.
Through the first 15 games, Garnett has slowly but surely been returning to 2008 form, as his classic intensity is showing once more, and it's certainly translating into better showings on the court. If he keep up this return to post dominance, Garnett can, and will, convince many that he isn't yet on the decline and that he can still intimidate and score.
Following Garnett were Paul Pierce and Glen Davis, each with 18 points, Ray Allen with 17 points (including 3-for-6 in three-pointers), Shaquille O'Neal with 16 points (as well as nine rebounds), Semih Erden with eight points, Rajon Rondo with four points, Nate Robinson with two points and Marquis Daniels with one point.
Boston scoring appeared balanced and efficient, as everyone seemed to contribute throughout the game, with five players in double digits for scoring.
Despite six players in double digits for Toronto (led by Linas Kleiza with 18), and a late push in the fourth quarter, the Raptors failed to find a way around Boston's defense. Toronto was finally silenced late in the game as the Raptors couldn't make key baskets and the Celtics used solid clock management to bring the game to a close.
All in all, the Celtics had another solid outing, chalking up yet another victory and maintaining the best record in the East. Rajon Rondo returned to form and looked as if he was never gone, once again running the offense with his usual composure. Boston continued to find ways to score despite being out-rebounded 44-35, making the most of its post presence and coming out on top.
The Celts are off until until Tuesday, November 30, when they travel to Cleveland to try and make up for their disappointing loss to the Cavaliers back on October 27.
Go Green 18!