|Fast Break: Rajon Rondo’s triple-double beats Heat||04.01.12 at 6:02 pm ET|
Nobody else in the NBA has more than one triple-double this season. Rajon Rondo now has five.
Dominating the first and third quarters of Sunday afternoon’s nationally televised game against the Heat (37-14), Rondo recorded 16 points, 14 assists and 11 rebounds in a 91-72 dismantling of the Eastern Conference’s current No. 2 seed.
The Celtics (30-22) move a full game up on the 76ers for the Atlantic Division lead and within two games of the third-seeded Magic, who were scheduled to play the Nuggets without Dwight Howard (back spasms) later Sunday afternoon.
All five starters reached double figures, including Bass (16 points, 10 rebounds) and Bradley (13 points), while Pierce and LeBron James canceled each other out with 23 points apiece, as the C’s led by as many as 29 points.
WHAT WENT RIGHT
A nation awaits: Rondo amassed seven points and three rebounds in the game’s first 3:43, sparking a 9-4 Celtics run (he assisted Kevin Garnett on the only other field goal) to start the game and forcing a Heat timeout less than four minutes into the game. Apparently, Rondo remembered Sunday’s game was nationally televised (like 14 of his 18 career triple-doubles). He finished the first quarter with 10 points, four assists and four rebounds, giving the C’s a 29-19 advantage. The third quarter was more of the same, as Rondo totaled six points and eight assists in that frame to stake the Celtics to an 80-56 lead.
No Wade out: With Ray Allen (ankle) and Mickael Pietrus (concussion) still out of the Celtics lineup, all eyes were on Avery Bradley as he drew the defensive assignment on Wade. Further earning his reputation already as one of the game’s great defenders, Bradley held Wade to 6-for-17 shooting, including this ridiculous second-quarter block. Conversely, Bradley’s knack for cutting to the basket offensively paid dividends against the gambling Wade.
All glass Bass: Considering the stage, this might have been the best Bass performance of the season. He registered his fourth double-double of the year, giving the Celtics the advantage on the defensive glass (44-32) and getting to the line offensively. He made all 10 of his free throw attempts, totaling his 16 points on five official field goal attempts. Rarely do the Celtics get to the line as frequently as the Heat, but on Sunday they owned a 22-17 advantage in free throws.
WHAT WENT WRONG
Miami Mikan drill: Midway through the second quarter, after Greg Stiemsma gave the Celtics a 34-23 lead, the Heat went on a 10-run — and had the C’s to thank for it. Shane Battier tipped in an offensive rebound, Wade drained turnaround (the only tough basket of the stretch), Wade beat Sasha Pavlovic off the dribble, Bradley threw a pass out of bounds, Battier made a layup off an inbounds pass and Wade got behind the defense for another layup. All in all, an ugly stretch for a Celtics defense that played exceptionally well the rest of the night.
Shane game: While the rest of his team shot 16-for-43 (37.2%) from the field and 0-for-4 from 3-point range in the first half, Battier made four of his five shots — including a pair of 3-pointers on three attempts — totaling 11 points and four rebounds by the break to help keep the Heat in the game 49-44 after two quarters.
Pain in the offensive glass: While Bass led a spirited effort on the defensive glass, the Heat — like so many teams — dominated in that respect with 15 rebounds on the offensive end. The Celtics allowed 10 or more offensive rebounds for the 39th time in 52 games, but that’s nitpicking at its finest.