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Fast Break: Depleted Celtics no match for Mavs

02.20.12 at 10:34 pm ET

The Celtics came into Monday’s game with the Mavericks having lost three straight and five of six. It was also the second night of a back-to-back on the road and the next one of those they win will be the first.

Brandon Bass is out with knee problems. Kevin Garnett is away from the team and dealing with a family issue, and to top off the impending disaster, Rajon Rondo was suspended two games by the NBA after he threw the ball at referee Sean Wright in Sunday’s game.

In an utterly unsurprising result, they got blasted, 89-73. Give the Celtics who did play some credit. It could have been much worse.


— Without Garnett in the lineup, the Celtics had no one who could guard Dirk Nowitzki. Not surprisingly, the Mavericks took full advantage, not only running their offense through Nowitzki, but also getting Chris Wilcox into quick foul trouble, forcing the Celtics to use Mickael Pietrus on the All-Star.

— Rondo’s going to take some criticism for his suspension and all of it is justified. With his team falling apart, he simply can’t afford to let his emotions get away from him like they did on Sunday. It wasn’t the first time he’s whipped a ball at an official after a call he didn’t like and the NBA came down hard with a two-game suspension. Rondo is 25 years old. He’s a six-year pro and a two-time All-Star. This isn’t about growing up or maturity. It’s about keeping your composure when your team needs you and Rondo messed up. Simple as that.

— Just for kicks, Jermaine O’Neal sprained his wrist and didn’t return to the game. Ditto for Wilcox who strained an abductor muscle. At one point, the Celtics had Marquis Daniels and Pietrus at forward with Keyon Dooling and Ray Allen in the backcourt and Greg Stiemsma at center. That was one of the more conventional lineups the Celtics used in the second half.


Avery Bradley played 33 minutes and scored 12 points on 6-for-11 shooting with four rebounds, two assists and just one turnover. He played about as well as could be expected.

— Thanks to a late barrage of 3-pointers from the small-ball lineup, the Celtics were able to avoid a season-low in points. The Phoenix game lives on for another night.

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