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First Quarter Wrap: Celtics vs. Pacers 03.12.10 at 8:09 pm ET
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After scoring just 12 points in the first quarter against the Grizzlies, the Celtics more than doubled that point total against the Pacers. They lead 29-23 after the first 12 minutes.

The Celtics offense has been fueled by Rajon Rondo, who leads all players with 10 points (4-6 FG). Nate Robinson provided the high energy play of the quarter when he picked off a bad pass and nailed a 3-pointer with 45 seconds left. This put the Celtics up by six and got the crowd on their feet.

Troy Murphy leads the Pacers with 7 points.

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First Quarter Wrap: Celtics vs. Grizzlies 03.10.10 at 8:10 pm ET
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The Celtics scored 12 points in the first quarter … the entire first quarter.

The C’s shot a meager 25 percent from the floor and were outscored 27-12 by the Grizzlies, who are shooting a comfortable 55 percent from the field. It is the least amount of points the Celtics have scored in the first quarter all season.

Sam Young leads all players with nine points off the Grizzlies bench. Rudy Gay and Zach Randolph have combined for another 14. Ray Allen leads the Celtics with six points, but was sidelined early with foul trouble. Michael Finley made his home debut after Allen picked up his second.

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Flip: ‘We choked’ against Celtics 03.08.10 at 2:04 am ET
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Kevin Garnett takes the ball to the basket during Sunday's night win over the Wizards. (AP)

Kevin Garnett takes the ball to the basket during Sunday's night win over the Wizards. (AP)

Flip Saunders knows Kevin Garnett well enough. For 10 seasons, Saunders coached the perennial All-Star with the Minnesota Timberwolves.

With all apologizes to Jim Croce, Saunders, now the head coach of the Wizards, knows you don’t tug on Superman’s cape, you don’t spit into the wind and you don’t tick off the Big Ticket.

The last part of that equation was especially troublesome in Saunders’ eyes as he watched his Wizards blow a 79-66 lead with just over six minutes to go Sunday night.

“Well, we choked,” Saunders began. “Six minutes to go, we’re up 13. We’ve got young guys, they don’t know what it’s like to be in a situation. We start talking to Garnett, start talking trash and everything else. Got Garnett and those guys juiced up and we just pissed down our leg the last six minutes.

“You have a veteran team that knows how to close out games against a young team that hasn’t been there, and instead of just letting a sleeping dog lie, we juiced up their energies. We had plays coming off timeouts and we had guys going to the wrong side of the floor, we were so discombobulated.”

[Click here to hear Saunders rip into his team for coming unglued at the end of the game.] Read the rest of this entry »

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Fast Break: Celtics vs. Wizards 03.07.10 at 10:46 pm ET
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It looked like another disappointing home loss for the Celtics. Down by 12 in the third quarter, the C’s were on the verge of falling to the Wizards just a week after being upset by the Nets.

But that’s when their winning experience came into play. The Celtics outscored the Wizards 24-17 in the fourth quarter to secure a 86-83 comeback victory.

Turning Point: Down 81-77, Rajon Rondo scored a fastbreak layup and drew the foul on Al Thornton with 1:37 to go. He missed the free throw, but Kendrick Perkins kicked out the offensive rebound to Ray Allen, who drained a trey. This capped a 16-2 Celtics run and put them up, 82-81.

Player of the game: Ray Allen (25 points) got the Celtics momentum back with a pair of treys in the third quarter. Not only did he hit a go-ahead 3-pointer in the fourth, he knocked down the game-winning 3 with 17 seconds left.

- Rondo scored just two points in the first half. He got hot late in the third to score seven points in a span of two-minutes. He finished the game with 15 points.

- Michael Finley was inactive and watched the game from the end of the Celtics bench in a charcoal suit.

- Tony Allen played two minutes in his first game back since injuring his hip on Wednesday against the Bobcats.

- The Celtics are now 6-5 on Sundays and improved to 25-6 against sub-.500 opponents.

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Third Quarter Wrap: Celtics vs. Wizards at 10:00 pm ET
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If the Celtics are going to take back this game, they have just 12 more minutes to do so. They trail 66-62 after three quarters.

The C’s struggled to piece together a total team effort coming out of halftime. Paul Pierce and Kendrick Perkins were the only players to score for the first 5:49 of the quarter. The C’s also went scoreless during a 3:45 stretch in which the Wizards pushed their lead up to 11 points.

Ray Allen gave the Celtics a spark midway through the quarter with a pair of 3s. Then it was Rajon Rondo’s turn. He scored seven points two minutes to bring the Celtics back within four.

The Celtics have momentum heading into the fourth, but they still have to dig themselves out of a deficit. They are 7-14 when trailing after three quarters.

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Allen to play, not 100 percent at 8:03 pm ET
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Tony Allen will play against the Wizards, although he admits he is not 100 percent after injuring his right hip on Wednesday against the Bobcats. Allen described his rehab as a regimen of “massage, stem, ice, heat, stem, ice, massage.” He has missed a total of 22 games this season due to injuries.

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Third Quarter Wrap: Celtics vs. 76ers 03.05.10 at 8:50 pm ET
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Rajon Rondo was quiet in the first half. But once he finally scored in the third, he didn’t stop. Rondo scored 14 points in just over eight minutes. He and Kevin Garnett combined for all but six of the Celtics points in the quarter.

The Celtics have their largest lead, 74-67, going into the final 12 minutes. They did not commit a single turnover in the third. Garnett and Ray Allen are tied with a game-high 16 points. Elton Brand still leads the 76ers with 15 points.

The C’s are 31-7 this season when leading or tied after three quarters.

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