Celtics snap out of slump
The Boston Celtics showed they have put their mid-season slump behind them with an emphatic win over Phoenix—their first victory over a team with a winning record in over a month.
Rajon Rondo had 23 points and seven assists before sitting out the fourth quarter with the rest of the starters as Boston opened a 30-point lead before coasting to a 104-87 victory over the visiting Suns last night.
“I don’t think this is a team that will get shaken or rattled when we go through a struggle,” said Paul Pierce, who had 12 points, eight rebounds, and eight assists last night. “We stay together and we kept our heads up.
I never really thought we lost our confidence. We’re still the defending champions,” he added. “It’s just a matter of remembering who we are as a team.”
The Celtics won their 17th NBA title last season and began this year as if they would cruise to No. 18—winning 27 of their first 29 games for the best start in league history.
But they lost a Christmas Day rematch with the L.A. Lakers, their opponent from the NBA final, and then lost six more times in a two-week span.
Home-and-home victories over Toronto and New Jersey were nice, but yesterday’s win was the first over a team that’s now above .500 since Dec. 17 against Atlanta.
Elsewhere in the NBA, Minnesota beat the L.A. Clippers 94-86, New Orleans downed Indiana 103-100, N.Y. shaded Chicago 102-98, Dallas nipped Philadelphia 95-93, Houston topped Denver 115-113, and San Antonio edged Charlotte 86-84.
Golden State dumped Washington 119-98, Detroit beat Memphis 87-79, the L.A. Lakers bounced Cleveland 105-88, and Portland thumped Milwaukee 102-85.