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News » Rondo's late shooting sparks Celtics


Rondo's late shooting sparks Celtics


Rondo's late shooting sparks Celtics Their co-owner came up short last night, but the Celtics continued their winning ways.

Celtics co-owner Steve Pagliuca finished well behind winner Martha Coakley yesterday in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate, but the Celtics beat the Bucks, 98-89, at the Garden to extend their winning streak to eight games.

Milwaukee's Brandon Jennings may be the runaway leader for NBA Rookie of the Year, but Rajon Rondo showed that Jennings isn't the only graduate of Oak Hill Academy who can play the point.

While the Celtic and Bucks played to a 71-71 tie through three quarters, Rondo missed all six of his shots and didn't score. Then in the fourth, he sank all three of his field goal attempts and five of his seven free throws, believe it or not, to score 11 points and lead the Celtics to victory.

Rondo, shooting 40.6 percent at the line entering the night, made two foul shots with 4:42 left to give Boston the lead for good, 88-86.

"Tonight was the first time I saw hack-a-Rondo," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. "That one with five minutes left, that was an intentional foul, and he made them, thank God."

Kendrick Perkins followed with a free throw, and after Kevin Garnett forced Jennings to double dribble, Rondo pulled up for 19-footer to make it 91-86.

"I like taking shots," Rondo said, "but when you're playing with guys who are great at what they do, my job is to distribute the ball."

Rondo later found Garnett for a hook and Ray Allen for a 3-pointer, and the lead was up to 96-88 with 1:58 left. The Celtics scored 12 of the game's final 15 points.

Rondo finished one rebound shy of a triple-double, dishing out 13 assists and collecting nine boards to go with his 11 points. He also came up with five steals, twice his league-leading average. Jennings ended up with 17 points - four below his average - and four assists as Milwaukee lost for the eighth time in its last nine games overall and for the sixth straight time on the road.

Garnett paced the Celtics with 25 points and nine rebounds. The 6-foot-11 forward made 9 of 13 shots to continue his torrid shooting. Garnett has sunk 50 of 65 shots (76.9 percent) in his last six games.

"My mind-set is more defensive," Garnett said, "than offensive right now. Not even thinking about the offensive end, to be honest with you. But it does feel good coming off my hand, and I'm just trying to be aggressive."

Garnett, the reigning Eastern Conference Player of the Week, passed Hal Greer to move into 25th place on the NBA's all-time scoring list.

Perkins and Paul Pierce each had 15 points and five rebounds. Ray Allen and Rasheed Wallace each scored 13. The Celtics shot 52.2 percent. Most importantly, they limited the Bucks to 37.5 percent (6 of 16) shooting in the fourth and deciding quarter.

"Our defense goes up another notch in the last three minutes," Pierce said.

Andrew Bogut led the Bucks with 25 points and 14 rebounds, but he committed seven of Milwaukee's 20 turnovers.

The Bucks hung tough by enjoying a 44-35 edge in rebounds, including grabbing 14 offensive boards. They took 12 more shots than the Celtics . Only Golden State averages fewer rebounds than the Celtics .

"It's a problem with the guards," Pierce said. "We have to do a better job at coming back and helping the bigs, especially on long rebounds. That is where we get beat the most, on the long rebound. Between me, Ray and Rondo, we have to do a better job at that."

The victory gave the Celtics a 90-89 lead in their all-time series against the Bucks.

The Celtics built a 69-60 lead late in the third quarter, but Delfino banked in a 17-foot jumper as the quarter ended to tie the score, 71-71.

The Celtics led only, 49-48, at half even though they shot 58.1 percent and held Milwaukee to 43.2 percent.

It didn't turn out to be an omen for Pagliuca that on primary day the Celtics played the Bucks, who are owned by Herb Kohl, a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin. Rivers campaigned for his boss.

"He knew it would be very tough to win that race," Rivers said. "I think he wanted to get in it for the right reasons, and he did. Maybe he'll get in in two years. I think this was just a start."


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Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: December 11, 2009

 

 
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