Celtics leave Milan in style with 105-75 victory

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Celtics leave Milan in style with 105-75 victory

MILAN - Rajon Rondo making shots - jumpers actually. A bench that scores more than 20 points in the first half. Jared Sullinger going into full-blown rebounding mode.

The Boston Celtics are tough to compete with, let alone defeat when that happens.

EA7 Emporio Armani found this out the hard way as the C's defense limited them to just 11 second-quarter points and the Celtics pulled away for a 105-75 win.

Leading the Celtics from the game's outset was Rajon Rondo.

Every season, Rondo tries to bring a little something more to the floor.

There were signs last season that his jumper - clearly the weakest part of his game - had improved.

On Sunday, Rondo delivered a near-flawless first half, making all seven of his field goal attempts along with dishing out two assists. He finished with 17 points and six assists.

To see Rondo knock down shots was not that big a surprise, but the starting lineup Celtics head coach Doc Rivers went with was a bit unexpected.

Joining Boston's new Big Three - Rondo, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce - in the starting lineup was rookie Jared Sullinger and Jason Terry in for Brandon Bass and Courtney Lee, respectively.

The lineup change seemed to work for all involved.

Sullinger got a chance to work with the starters, something C's coach Doc Rivers identified as something he wanted to do following Boston's loss on Friday.

Lee, who struggled in his first game for the Celtics, bounced back with nine points in the first half, the first two being on a powerful, one-handed dunk. Bass (4 points on 2-for-2 shooting, 5 rebounds) also had a strong start as the Celtics head back home with a split during its two-game European tour.

Terry had a solid game with 11 points. Even more impressive was the C's being 29 when he was on the floor. Boston also got a nice performance from Darko Milicic who had two points, nine rebounds and a game-high four blocked shots.

Crowder on Cousins' style: 'Step up to the test or you get run over'

Crowder on Cousins' style: 'Step up to the test or you get run over'

BOSTON – There was a point in the fourth quarter when Sacramento's DeMarcus Cousins was fouled trying to score which brought about an automatic, intense and angry scowl from the all-star center. 

He raised his hand as he were going to strike back at the potential assailant. 

And then he saw the man was Jae Crowder. 

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Cousins, who had a game-high 28 points, then went to the free throw line, incident-free. 

“I’m not one those other cats he be punking,” said Crowder with a grin.

That moment was one of many throughout Friday night’s game when Crowder made his presence felt when the game mattered most, and wasn’t afraid to mix it up with whoever stood between him and helping the Celtics win – even Cousins. 

But as Crowder explained following Boston’s 97-92 win, that moment was about two physical players who have developed an on-the-floor rapport that speaks to their intensity and desire to win at all costs. 

“He’s going to bring the game to you; his physicality,” said Crowder who had 16 points on 6-for-12 shooting. “He’s a very physical type of guy. If he senses you’re not physical at all, he’ll let you know. He’s a dog down there; he’s a bull. I love to go against a player like that. He’s going to give you his best shot each and every night. You either step up to the test or you get run over.” 

As soon as the two made eye contact, Crowder knew it was one of the many intimidation methods used by Cousins against opposing players. 

Crowder wasn’t having it. 

“That’s my guy; he’s my guy,” Crowder said of Cousins. “He plays a lot of tactics against a lot of other players. I’ve earned that respect with him. He knows I’m going to fight him just as hard as anybody else. We leave it on the court. He’s a good friend of mine. We’ve become friends, just playing ball, playing basketball the right way.”