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Fast Break: Rajon Rondo stops Magic, ties John Stockton for consecutive double-digit assists

11.25.12 at 8:57 pm ET
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The Magic finally missed a couple of 3-pointers, and for the Celtics, the misses couldn’t have come at a better time. Both Jameer Nelson and Glen Davis missed treys in the final minute, and the Celtics made 3-of-4 free throws down the stretch to escape Orlando with a 116-110 overtime victory.

Rajon Rondo (15 points, 16 assists, 9 rebounds) fell one rebound short of his first triple-double of the season (and 24th of his career), but he did eclipse double-digit assists for the 37th straight game, tying John Stockton for the second-longest streak in NBA history, trailing only Magic Johnson (46).

Kevin Garnett (24 points, 10 rebounds) notched his first double-double since Nov. 9, and Paul Pierce added 23 points despite missing his signature elbow jumper at the end of regulation. Leandro Barbosa (15 points), Brandon Bass (13 points) and Jared Sullinger (11 points) also reached double figures for the Celtics (8-6).

WHAT WENT RIGHT

Blurring the lines: In four first-half minutes, Leandro Barbosa scored 11 points, making all four of his shots, including a pair of 3-pointers and a traditional three-point play. He entered the game averaging 15.8 points, 4.5 assists and 2.7 rebounds per 36 minutes, and that kind of production can’t be ignored. Makes you wonder how many guard minutes will be left for Courtney Lee once Avery Bradley returns.

Painting a masterpiece: Without Dwight Howard to stop them, the Celtics took full advantage of a rare frontcourt strength advantage. At halftime, when the Celtics built a 58-48 advantage, the Celtics owned the advantage in points in the paint (30-16) rebounds (23-21) and second-chance points (10-4). Rarely do the C’s lead any of those three categories, but it’s nice to see Pierce, Garnett and Bass deliver when they should.

Sully tapped: Less than two minutes into his night, Jared Sullinger‘s first attempt got swatted back into his face by Josh McRoberts. It was the beginning of an 0-for-3 start for the Celtics rookie. The larger concern: Opponents have blocked 19.4 percent of Sullinger’s shots this season, which ranks fifth-worst among NBA players who average at least 15 minutes a night. But Sullinger responded, taking a page out of Glen Davis‘ around-the-basket book, making five of his next nine shots to finish with 11 points and six boards in 19:25 off the bench.

WHAT WENT WRONG

Moore is less: Not that he would have earned this many minutes on the Celtics, but E’Twaun Moore continues to prove he belongs in the NBA, approaching his season average of 11.1 points against his former team. He came into the game ranked among the top 25 shooters in the league from beyond the arc. Perhaps Celtics coach Doc Rivers should have played him more than 8.7 minutes a game last season.

Turd quarter: When Pierce failed to close out on a Moe Harkless 3-pointer, Rivers burned a timeout 1:03 into the third quarter. It didn’t help. The Magic outscored the C’s 34-22 on 76.5 percent shooting in the frame, led by guards Jameer Nelson and J.J. Redick, who combined for 20 points on 8-of-9 shooting in that 12 minutes.

Triple threat: The C’s entered the game allowing opponents to shoot 37.2 percent — the sixth-worst number in the league — and that only stands to get worse after Sunday night. The Magic shot a combined 11-of-26 from beyond the arc, including 4-of-6 during the momentum-swinging third quarter.

Green in the red: After a spectacular night against his former team on Friday night. Jeff Green finished with just one point on 0-for-9 shooting in 20 minutes against Orlando. Outside of an athletic two-handed block in the fourth quarter, he once again made little impact against another sub-.500 team.

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