BOSTON Sunday's game wasn't a must-win for the Boston Celtics.
But you wouldn't know it by the way they approached the game, easily defeating Philadelphia 103-79 on Sunday.
With the win, Boston (32-24) now has a three-game lead in the Atlantic Division on the slumping Sixers (29-27).
After a relatively close first quarter, Boston began to pull away in the second and led, 50-36, at the half.
The third quarter has usually been a good one for Philadelphia, which came into Sunday's game giving up an NBA-low 20.7 points per game.
Needless to say, that number will take a bit of a spike after the C's lit the Sixers up for 34, third-quarter points to take an 84-63 lead into the fourth.
At a time when teams are trying to balance staying healthy with winning games, the C's are managing to do both just fine.
Because of the blowout nature of the game on Sunday which came after a strong performance by the C's bench the previous night in Indiana, a number of key Celtics got more in-game rest than usual.
However, the Sixers made a bit of a mini-run in the fourth to cut Boston's lead to 86-70 which is when head coach Doc Rivers brought Kevin Garnett back in the game.
Garnett, who has missed a number of shots he normally makes lately, was among the Celtics playing good basketball on Sunday.
He finished with 20 points on 8-for-11 shooting. Boston got another strong game from Paul Pierce (17 points, five rebounds) and a good bounce-back showing by Brandon Bass.
After scoring just two points while missing all of his shots from the field at Indiana on Saturday, Bass had 18 points on 8-for-10 shooting against the Sixers.
And last but certainly not least, was Rajon Rondo.
The 6-1 playmaker continues to play at an exceptional level as he finished with seven points along with 15 assists.
To put Rondo's night in perspective, he had nine assists in the third quarter alone which nearly doubled the number of assists (5) of the Sixers in that quarter.
But in 2011-2012 Celtics fashion, they allowed Philadelphia to make the game mildly interesting in the fourth quarter.
The Sixers trailed by 14 and had a chance to cut into the C's lead even further. But Evan Turner, who had a career-high 26 points against Boston earlier this season, turned the ball over.
Moments later, Sasha Pavlovic drained a 3-pointer to put the Celtics up by 17. Another Sixers turnover followed, which led to a breakaway attempt by Avery Bradley who was fouled on the play.
There was still another six minutes of basketball to play, but it was clear that Philadelphia could not muster up enough plays to come back and make the game close. And the Celtics were clearly in no mood to allow this game to become even mildly interesting.
And the seal-the-deal moment that this was over?
The appearance of Gino on the JumboTron with 2:28 to play and the C's up 96-76.