On February 12, the Boston Celtics bounced back from their worst effort of the season with a 95-91 win over the Eastern Conference-leading Chicago Bulls. Rajon Rondo recorded a triple-double with 32 points, ten rebounds and 15 assists as he carried the Celtics for most of the game. Rondo took advantage of Derrick Rose's absence and facilitated a great transition game to improve the Celtics to 15-12 on the season.
Rondo got off to a great start and powered the Celtics to an early 18-7 lead. When Kevin Garnett went to the bench for his first rest, the Bulls went straight to the paint and ran off ten straight points to get back within one. The Celtics responded by turning defense into offense with an 8-0 run of their own. Boston led 28-23 through one quarter behind 11 points by Rondo.
Avery Bradley, Mickael Pietrus, Greg Stiemsma and JaJuan Johnson each played well off Boston's bench in the first-half. As a team, the Celtics shot .568 from the floor and held the Bulls to .340 shooting to enter the locker room leading 48-43. Rondo led the Celtics to 17 fast break points with 16 points and six assists in the first-half.
Rondo picked up right where he left off and pushed the tempo for the Celtics in the third quarter. Boston scored eight more in transition in the third as Rondo got within an assist of a double-double; he finished the quarter with 28 points and the Celtics took a 72-66 lead into the fourth.
After a slow start to the fourth quarter, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce led a 10-3 run that gave Boston its first double-digit lead of the second-half. Back-to-back alley-oops from Rondo to Johnson and Chris Wilcox extended Boston's lead to 14 with five minutes to play. A sudden rash of poor decision-making in the closing minutes let the Bulls cut the deficit to as few as three points. Rondo knocked down four straight free throws to hold off the comeback and seal the win for Boston.
This was a great bounce-back game from the Celtics' ugly showing in Toronto. Unlike that lackluster effort, they ran in transition when the opportunity presented itself and outscored the Bulls 33-7 on the fast break. In addition to Rondo's triple-double, Garnett added a double-double with 13 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks.
The Celtics get a rare two-day break before their next game on Wednesday, February 15 against the Detroit Pistons On Thursday, the Celtics face the Bulls again as they begin a stretch of five straight road games that takes them through the All-Star break.
Chicago at Boston, Sunday, February 12, 2012, NBA -- Yahoo! Sports
William Menna is a native New Englander and longtime Boston sports fan.
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