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Fast Break: Celtics survive another Wizards scare

11.07.12 at 10:21 pm ET
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Thanks to double-doubles from the Big Three, the Celtics survived a second straight game against a Wizards team missing two of its best players. It wasn’t pretty — and required OT — but the Cs’ evened their record at 2-2.

Rondo’s 18 points and 14 assists in the 100-94 victory moved him alone into third place in NBA history with 28 consecutive games with 10-plus assists (behind John Stockton‘s 29, Stockton’s 37 and Magic Johnson‘s 44).

Garnett (20 points, 13 rebounds) committed what could’ve been a costly technical foul when he jerked his elbow in Kevin Seraphin‘s direction late in the fourth quarter, but two Paul Pierce (15 points, 10 rebounds) steals and a Rondo 20-footer with 26 seconds left helped force overtime as Rondo’s 3-pionter at the end of regulation fell short. The C’s defense arrived just in time to salvage the game in OT.

WHAT WENT RIGHT

First things first: The Celtics repeatedly assure the offense will come once they can get back to playing the kind of defense that’s been the trademark of their success the past five seasons. Wednesday night’s first quarter was a start. Led by Garnett and Lee, the Celtics held the Wizards to 29.2 percent shooting (7-24 FG) in the first 12 minutes, building a 21-16 lead that should have been bigger if not for five C’s turnovers.

Garnett gold: Since nobody else put forth any effort in the opening 24 minutes, Garnett exerted twice as much. By halftime, he had 10 rebounds, seven points and two blocks. His final first-half defensive stand was remarkable, singlehandedly guarding the right side of the court and eventually blocking a Trevor Booker layup attempt with two seconds left on the shot clock. Without KG on the floor, the C’s finished minus-13 before the break.

Forward progress: Finally given an opportunity to contribute midway through the third quarter, Chris Wilcox ran the floor with Rondo, made his only field goal and got to the line five times for six points to go along with two boards and a block. In just four minutes of action, he finished a plus-11 — while Garnett sat on the bench.

Very Terry: After admitting it was an adjustment to mesh with a new system, Jason Terry finally asserted himself into the offense. He took 15 shots, made seven of them and scored 16 points off the bench. Somehow, the C’s reserves still got outscored, 53-41.

WHAT WENT WRONG

Big whoop: Celtics coach Doc Rivers continues to search for a combination of bigs that can regularly hold the fort without Garnett on the floor, but the Jared Sullinger and Brandon Bass frontcourt in particular hasn’t been that solution. For every lead the Celtics built on KG’s back, that duo seemed to erase it in his absence.

Not-so-Green hornet: During Tuesday’s open Celtics practice, Rivers pleaded with Jeff Green to keep moving and be aggressive — like he was in preseason. Save for a brief stretch in the second quarter, when he got to the basket three times in just over three minutes, Green made little impact. His formula for success appears fairly similar — attack, attack, attack — which makes his moments of immobility that much more frustrating.

Captain awful: Like his fellow members of the C’s Big Three, Pierce recorded his double-double but made just 2-of-12 shots and continued to opt for 3-pointers over attacking the basket down the stretch. His poor shooting performance may also have led to the decision to let Rondo shoot a rather uncreative failed 3 at the end of regulation

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