Rondo leads Celtics over Warriors, 115-93

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Rondo leads Celtics over Warriors, 115-93

By A.Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com

OAKLAND, Calif. Inside the Boston Celtics locker room there was a chocolate cake for Rajon Rondo, who turned 25 years old on Tuesday.

The Golden State Warriors were in the gift-giving mood as well, as they seemingly gave Rondo and the Celtics anything and everything they wanted in the second half.

And the end result was Boston pulling away for a 115-93 victory that snapped a six-game losing skid at Oracle Arena.

Boston (41-14) had five players in double figures scoring, but it was the play of Rondo that stood out.

He tallied his 23rd double-double this season, finishing with 19 points and 15 assists.

"We haven't won here since I've been a Celtic," said Rondo, who was acquired by the C's on draft night in 2006. "It was key for us to get a win tonight."

On Tuesday, Rondo was getting it done both as a scorer and as a distributor.

However, he was impacting the game in other areas as well.

"Rondo, leadership-wise throughout the game, was getting on guys for taking bad shots," said coach Doc Rivers. "I just thought he was a coach on the floor. He was terrific."

Indeed, Tuesday's game was yet another example of how Rondo's game has matured over the years.

The 19 points scored by Rondo was more than he scored in Boston's two previous games combined. In addition, it was the third-highest scoring game for Rondo this season.

"I just try to take what the defense gave me," Rondo said.

For the Warriors (26-30), that would be anything and everything Rondo wanted.

Even with Don Nelson gone and Keith Smart calling the shots as the Warriors head coach, Golden State is still a horrible team defensively.

In addition to Rondo, Kevin Garnett also made the most of a Golden State defense that put up about as much resistance as a turnstile.

Garnett had 24 points and 12 rebounds for his 18th double-double this season.

But despite the Warriors playing shoddy defense, which allowed Boston to essentially get any shot it wanted, the Celtics found themselves in a 60-60 tie at the half.

Smart and his team had to feel pretty good about themselves at that half when you consider the game's tempo - as well as a lack of defense played by both teams - was clearly to their liking.

"Boston went in at halftime and they knew they had to bring it up a little bit," Smart said.

The C's cranked up the defensive pressure from the opening possession of the second half.

"That's what is good about teams like that, and San Antonio, they make adjustments," said Warriors forward David Lee, who had 17 points and 5 rebounds.

Lee was hurting the Celtics in the first half on pick-and-roll plays.

That all changed in the third quarter.

"They . . . stayed with me on the roll and made sure we were going to take jump shots rather than be able to get the ball to the rack, like we would in the first half," Lee said.

That defensive adjustment led to a slew of Golden State turnovers.

After forcing just three turnovers in the first half, it took the Celtics less than 90 seconds to equal that amount in the third quarter.

Those turnovers created a slew of easy scoring opportunities for Boston which finished with a season-high 30 fast-break points.

"We got stops. It's as simple as that," Rondo said. "We made a defensive run. That led to easy transition baskets."

The one big negative for the Celtics from Tuesday was the bruised left knee injury suffered by Kendrick Perkins.

Perkins, who suffered a torn MCL and PCL injury in his right knee during the NBA Finals last season, did not return to the floor after suffering the injury in the third quarter.

The injury doesn't appear to be serious, with Perkins telling CSNNE.com that he hopes the injury won't prevent him from playing in Denver on Thursday.

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached atsblakely@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

Lowry, Sullinger and Blount interrupt interview with DeRozan

Lowry, Sullinger and Blount interrupt interview with DeRozan

DeMar DeRozan didn't get a chance to answer one question in his postgame interview before being interrupted by Kyle Lowry, Jared Sullinger, and LeGarrette Blount.

Sullinger on Celtics: 'I watch from a distance, I support from a distance'

Sullinger on Celtics: 'I watch from a distance, I support from a distance'

BOSTON – The trip to the TD Garden is one that Jared Sullinger has made many times but never like this. 

The former Celtic was back in town with his new team, the Toronto Raptors who signed him to a one-year, $5.6 million deal after the Celtics rescinded their qualifying offer to him and thus made him an unrestricted free agent. 

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“I had a feeling it was going to go that way once they signed big Al (Horford), that they were going to let me go,” Sullinger said prior to Friday’s game.  “We were prepared for it. It is what it is. I’m happy these guys are doing well.”

And he hopes to say the same for himself sometime in the future after undergoing surgery to have a screw inserted in the fifth metatarsal of his left foot – the same foot he had season-ending surgery on during the 2014-2015 season with the Celtics. 

There’s no specific timetable as to when he’ll be back on the floor, and Sullinger is cool with that plan. 

“I don’t know. They’re hiding the protocol from me so I won’t rush; we’ll see,” said Sullinger who is still in a walking boot. 

The 6-foot-9 forward played well in the preseason and solidified himself as the team’s starting power forward. 

Now that he’s out with another injury, he’ll have to once again try and prove himself either later this season when he returns, or this summer when he becomes a free agent again.

For now, Sullinger is happy to be back in town, seeing lots of familiar faces, friends and ex-teammates that he says he still keeps in close contact with. 

“Some of these guys I considered like brothers to me,” Sullinger said. “IT (Isaiah Thomas), Jae Crowder to name a few. So I watch from a distance, I support from a distance. They’re playing well.”

In addition to his former teammates, the lines of communication remained open between him and Celtics head coach Brad Stevens as well. 

Stevens said the two exchanged text messages right before he had foot surgery, and afterwards. 

“Obviously, everyone here wishes a speedy recovery and hopefully he gets back on the court soon,” Stevens said. 

Sullinger has been an effective player during his time in the NBA, with career averages of 11.1 points and 7.7 rebounds per game. 

But this will be the third time in his five NBA seasons that he will miss a significant amount of time on the court due to an injury or recovering from an injury. 

Stevens acknowledged that he feels for Sullinger who once again has to go through rehabilitation in order to get back on the floor.

“I like Jared a lot,” Stevens said. “He’s a heck of a player, he’s a really smart guy. Got a lot of respect for him and it stinks that he’s got to go through that but he’ll come back strong I’m sure.”