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Fast Break: Celtics all alone in first place

You’ll have to excuse the Celtics [1] if they never want March to end. After a 100-79 win in Minnesota on Friday night, they capped off the month with a 12-5 record and sole possession of first place in the Atlantic Division after the 76ers inexplicably lost by 21 points at Washington.

The Celtics are hitting their stride and playing their best basketball of the season. Their timing couldn’t be better with a brutal week on tap that starts Sunday with a game against the Heat and features the Spurs, Bulls, Pacers and Sixers.


Avery Bradley [2], scoring machine: The Celtics found out before the game that Ray Allen [3] would miss his fifth straight contest with a sprained ankle, but the Celtics haven’t missed Allen nearly as much as they thought they would. Since moving into the starting lineup, Bradley has scored 60 points in four games. He had 14 in the first half on 5-for-6 shooting that once again included backcuts and open jump shots.

Rajon Rondo [4], assisting machine: The last time Rondo took 10 shots in a game was a week and a half ago against Atlanta. Since then he’s racked up 86 assists. He had 12 in the first half, and no turnovers. This was the 12 straight game that Rondo has recorded double-digit assists.

Kevin Garnett [5], simply a machine: There was some talk in Minnesota that the home crowd should boo Garnett after he said on Wednesday that he had no feelings for the Timberwolves [6] organization. That’s an odd reaction considering everything Garnett gave the franchise during his 12 seasons there, but there was much anticipation for his return, especially considering the way Kevin Love [7] has put himself into the MVP discussion recently. This was no contest.

Garnett got the better of the matchup from the opening tip and scored 24 points on 12-for-18 shooting with 10 rebounds. Love, meanwhile, went for 22 and 11 but shot only 5-for-18 from the floor.


Is this a trick question? Nothing went wrong in a game the Celtics led from the opening minutes. It was one of their most complete road victories of the season.