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Afternoon Delight: Celtics 107, Raptors 89

In lieu of grades for a C’s comfortable 18-point win over the undermanned Raptors during a rare Saturday matinee at the TD Garden, here are a few numbers that told the story from today’s easy win against Toronto.

20 – Rajon Rondo was back from a one-game absence from a sprained ankle and picked up where he left off, slicing and dicing the Raptor defense apart to the tune of 20 assists in just 32 minutes of action. According to NBA.com, he’s just the fourth player to post that 20 assist number in fewer than 32 minutes in NBA history. Safe to say there there should be no lingering concern about the ankle’s condition.

17 – The number of minutes Kevin Garnett played. With the C’s third game in four days today and another one against Detroit looming tomorrow, Doc Rivers is getting the best of both worlds with an easy win and a light workload for the 36-year-old power forward. 

12-11 – The first double-double of Jared Sullinger’s career off the bench. As the rookie settles into a rhythm coming off the pine after a short stint in the starting five, it’s promising to see some growth out of the 21-year-old against inferior opponents like Toronto. The flashes of potential that we saw in the preseason are still there and should become more prevalent as the season continues.

4 – That’s four or more points for every member of the roster (10 players) that played in today’s game. In what was an underwhelming start to the season for the C’s newcomers has quickly and quietly transferred in a reliable threat from all five positions off the bench.

We’re back at it tomorrow at the Hub with a full preview and grades for an early evening tilt with the one-win Detroit Pistons looming.

  • High Rollers


  • Josh_5

    Here's a few fun stat snacks for your guys' enjoyment:
    – Rondo has 7 career 20+ assist games. The great Steve Nash for his career has 9.
    – Rondo has more career 20+ assist games than the entire history of the Celtics franchise combined.
    – Since 2010, Rondo has more 20+ assist games than the rest of the NBA combined.

  • Tos

    Can we get a story on the whole Royce White fiasco? I figure since he was rumored to a Celtic pick before bein snatched by Houston it’s relevant. So glad they did to….

    • Phil

      I'd still rather have Royce White than Melo.

  • ghoulbuns

    Sorry Phil, but kg wouldnt stand for someone who needed to be coddled. I uinderstand his condition is real but at the same time if you can’t meet the job description then the job isnt yours to have. if you getting paid millions you ride the fucking airplane or you stay at home and make nothing

    • dslack

      That's not the issue. The issue is that he's not showing up at practice.
      Houston is willing to work with him on the airplane thing and have him go to fewer games and take buses to games where that's possible. But he has to show up at practice.

      • Phil

        We don't know the whole story of what happened, so I'm hesitant to comment on it. I doubt that White's experience has been that much more different than other rookies, but I also believe that he has legitimate reasons to feel that his condition isn't being given the proper care/thought. It's a mess for sure, but not one that would make me write him off.

    • Phil

      So this one incident means Royce White will never make it in the NBA? He's gotten through a lot of problems to get where he is now, and he's shown a willingness to deal with his issues that makes me think he can get through them again. There's a chance that he never plays in the NBA, but you take that chance given his talent. To say that everyone needs treated the same is just wrong.

      That's only part of what I said though; I never said I'd take White over someone with actual potential (PJ3 is the obvious one given where he was drafted.) You know who doesn't have NBA potential? Fab Melo. With Royce White, you're either getting a good player, or he's out of the league and probably off the books completely. Fab Melo could linger around for years giving you sub-par production at an inflated big man cost. There's a better chance of that happening than Melo turning into… Brandon Haywood? Name your below average center, I guess. I'd take the 58th pick in the draft right now over Melo. At least that player would go from Maine to Europe.

  • elroz

    Wilcox with 25 minutes tonight…the most he has played this season so far. I like it.
    Hopefully Wilcox and Sullinger could take some of KG's minutes by playing quality basketball. They just need to get KG to 28 minutes a game max…with an occasional game off. Need to save him for the playoffs. The same goes for Green helping reduce Pierce's load to 32-33 minutes. And possibly Barbosa-Lee-Terry shaving some minutes off of Rondo, to get him to 35-36 a game.

  • skeeds

    I'm really starting to feel weird about that "assist" thing. I've watched Rondo's 20 dimes, and to be honest, at least 5 of them shouldn't count. You can't count an assist when the receiver takes 3-4 dribbles, pump fakes and shoots a step back. Or when he gets the ball outside the 3pt line and goes around 2 defenders to finish at the rim. That's a pass leading to basket, not an assist.
    That has to do more with how the league counts assists, not Rondo being favored, off course. That's one thing euro-ball does a better job at. The NBA seems to be counting almost every last pass before a bucket as an assist. If that was the case in the 80's and 90's, Magic and Stockton wouldn't have a single digit assist game between them for their careers…

  • Switcharoo

    The only one I really saw that was questionable was the fast break half court pass to Pierce, the rest looked pretty legit. Ah well it’s in the books now so what are you gonna do? I wonder what kind of sports medicine sorcery they pulled on his ankle to get him back in the game after 1 day; sprains freakin hurt and last……usually.

    • skeeds

      It depends on how strict you're calling it. For example, you could say that half of his assists to KG shouldn't count. He just feeds him the ball, and KG posts up, dribbles, spins, and so on. It's an iso play. Same goes when the guy who gets the ball (Terry and PP in this game), makes a hesitation move, dribbles, and shoots a step back. It's not a direct pass leading to a basket.
      Anyway, that's how they're counting them for everyone these days so whatever…

      • Phil

        I rewatched the game knowing that Rondo got the 20 assists, and I did notice some very iffy ones. One to Jeff Green in particular sticks out; he caught it behind the three point line, faced up, dribbled four times, then took a step back jumper. That's not an assist.

        I'm not about to complain about it since other PGs get the same treatment, I agree that it's more of a problem with assists in general than anything pertaining to Rondo.