Friday, August 24, 2012

Rondo Seals Victory Over Thunder, Celtics Improve to 14-6

After a dissatisfying loss against the Spurs, the Celtics shipped out of the Lone Star State and traveled to Oklahoma City, where the Thunder and ecstatic fans were waiting to watch a showdown.

The game didn't disappoint. And neither did Rondo, who faltered against the Heat and the Spurs, despite crushing Charlotte by himself in between both games. The distributor of Boston dished out 9 assists and scored 28 points on much better shooting (10-22) as opposed to his terrible aim against the Spurs (5-18). The most significant of those 28 points came from Rondo swallowing the divisive fear of possibly missing two shots in the final minutes of regulation and bravely firing away without worrying about the consequences.

The first was a mid range jumper that held the resilient Thunder squad at bay, because a 4 point lead is better than a 2 point lead, especially when Kevin Durant (35 points) and Russel Westbrook (18 points, 13 assists) are unconscionably letting the ball fly on the other end split seconds after getting the would-have-been rebound had Rondo misfired. The second gutsy move by Boston's leader was a layup that rattled in, despite Rondo being pummeled several times throughout the game by the big men of OKC, Serge Ibaka & Kendrick Perkins.

The last would-be dagger was a 3 in the corner as Rondo tried to formulate a play after Boston came up with a vital offensive rebound. Just enough unintentional breathing room from Westbrook and Rondo sank the score spreading long ball. Even though OKC rallied back in the final minute and only lost by 5, Rondo continued to suck up the role of being Boston's leader by sinking crucial free throws, something Kenyon Martin failed to do earlier in the tightly contested showdown.

Overall, Boston was more patient and structured with their offense. OKC was proficient as well, but Boston battled back despite a small lead by the home team. KG was in foul trouble all night (ultimately fouling out in the final minutes), but was careful enough to still be effective on the floor, chipping in a diligent 16 points on a sharp 8/11 shooting. As a blessing in disguise, the rest of Boston took up KG's absence with vigor and determination to not lose against another elite team, especially one from the western conference.

With virtually no help from the bench, the burden fell upon the starting five and they more than lived up to their salaries, and to their fans watching them at home. Millsap (18 points), Pierce (18 points, 4 three pointers) and Terry (17 points, 5 three pointers) banded together, defying the high scoring style of OKC.

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