Rondo’s magic leads Celtics
Rondo had 18 points, 14 assists and 11 rebounds while Kevin Garnett had 24 points and nine rebounds to lead the Boston Celtics over the winless Washington Wizards 94-86 on Sunday night.
Rivers found out about Rondo’s statistical feat when he glanced at the final box score.
“I just knew he played great. He was sensational all night. He had one of those nights — he had this last year in stretches — where he just called a good game, you know, like he’s a great catcher,” Rivers said.
“He called a terrific game tonight.”
The victory was the Celtics’ second straight after losing their first three.
“ It’s just two games. We had some tough losses the first few games, but it’s about building and I think that’s what we’re doing right now,” Rondo said.
Garnett had just 43 points in the first four games. He dominated Washington’s front line — hitting nine of his 17 field goals — scoring 12 points in each half.
“At this point my defense is definitely ahead of my offense,” Garnett said. “(Rivers) wants me to be a lot more offensive.”
The Celtics took the lead in the first 3 minutes and increased the margin to 19 points. Boston led by at least seven points throughout the second half.
Washington is 0-4. After losing the opener by six points to New Jersey, the Wizards have lost the last three by 47 points.
Washington, which lost five straight to open 2008-09, could match that start Monday in Boston when the teams play again.
John Wall, who was 10 for 37 from the field in Washington’s first three games, was six for 13 against the Celtics. He finished with 19 points, eight assists and seven rebounds. He committed his fourth foul with 4:25 remaining in the third quarter on a three-point play by Rondo.
“He does the little things. He’s sneaky at rebounding,” Wall said. “He does a great job of trying to steal the ball. He can score in various ways.”
JaVale McGee had 16 points and 14 rebounds for the Wizards, while Nick Young had 18 points.
The Celtics took a 30-17 lead early in the second quarter. Paul Pierce, in his second game since returning from a bruised right heel, played the first 9 minutes — a few more than Rivers envisioned. Rivers previously said he was more worried about Pierce’s conditioning than the heel.
Pierce, who had 12 points in 23 minutes on Friday night, had nine in 28 against Washington.
After the Wizards cut the deficit to 32- 25, Boston went on a 12-2 run to take a 44- 27 lead with 3:45 left in the second quarter.
The Celtics led 51- 34 at halftime. Boston nearly doubled Washington’s shooting percentage in the first half — the Celtics shot 55.6 percent, the Wizards 28.2 percent. Washington missed all nine of its 3-point attempts in the half and finished 2 of 16.
“We’re getting good shots. We missed nine shots inside of four feet,” Wizards coach Flip Saunders said.
Washington scored seven straight points to cut Boston’s lead to 65-58 with 2:33 remaining in the third quarter, but the Celtics led 73-60 after three.
Notes — Wizards center/ forward Ronny Turiaf left the game in the third quarter with a bruised left hand. Saunders said he was doubtful for tonight. ... Boston played without forward/center Chris Wilcox (bruised left shoulder). Rivers said there was a good chance Wilcox would play on Monday night. ... Washington assigned center Hamady Ndiaye to Iowa of the NBA D-League. ... When Roger Mason checked into the game for the Wizards in the second quarter, the crowd murmured. Mason’s name was inadvertently omitted from the eligible list for Friday’s game in Milwaukee — resulting in Mason’s disqualification.