The rundown (a quick look at postgame headlines)
Quiet Assassin strikes again: TA earning time
It took less than a week from Tony Allen to go from the story of the night back to obscurity at the end of the Boston bench.
It will be tough for Doc Rivers to sit Tony Allen now.Allen drew headlines after a win over the Nuggets on Feb. 24 by coming off the pine to score 13 points on 5-of-6 shooting in a 113-99 triumph. Yet a week later, Allen was back in the land of DNP as he didn't get off the bench in Wednesday's loss to Oklahoma City.
Evidently, the Quiet Assasin -- as Allen dubbed himself last month -- didn’t allow himself to get discouraged because when Ray Allen found himself in foul trouble throughout Friday's game and Marquis Daniels proved yet again to be ineffective off the bench, it was Tony Allen that made another strong case for being a part of Boston's postseason rotation.
Tony Allen scored 12 points on 4-of-8 shooting with 5 rebounds, 5 steals, 3 assists and a block over 28 minutes.
When asked if Tony Allen had earned himself a spot in the rotation, Rivers put it into an analogy that any journalist could understand.
"If you write [bad] articles long enough, someone will replace you," said Rivers. "When a guy does a job better than someone else, the other guy will play. It's not a conspiracy, that's life. Right now, Tony is playing well. Shoot, I thought he single-handedly got us back into the game with his effort and defense. He was sensational.
"[Tony Allen is] going to play. Whether Marquis plays or Nate [Robinson] doesn't play, one of them isn't playing, but, right now, Tony plays because he plays hard."
Rondo gets record, but Houston gets the win
Celtics guard Rajon Rondo doesn't like talking about individual accomplishments as it is. He didn't care to elaborate on a personal milestone after one of the more disheartening losses of the 2009-10 season.
With 10 assists in Friday's game, Rondo surged past Bob Cousy's 50-year-old single-season assist record, etching his name in the Boston record books for the second time in a seven-day span (last week he set the mark for single-season steals, surpassing Rick Fox).
Rondo now boasts 724 assists on the season with seven games to go. But he didn't feel much like focusing on one of Friday's lone positives.
"It's nice, but we lost, so I don’t get to enjoy it too much," he said.
Rondo did elaborate a bit to note that the assists record means more to him than the steals mark, adding, "Sharing the ball and trying to make my teammates a little better, that's what I pride myself on."
Rondo finished with 23 points, 10 assists, 5 rebounds, and 5 steals over 48 minutes. And while he dominated the game offensively for much of the first three quarters, he struggled defensively to limit Houston's Aaron Brooks, who not only scored a game-high 30 points on 10-of-17 shooting (4 of 6 on 3-pointers), but also dished out nine assists, including some pivotal dimes late in the fourth quarter and overtime.
Despite the individual accolades, Pierce seemed to point towards Rondo in terms of where the defensive lapses began (and where they need to be tightened up moving forward).
“We have to address [the defensive struggles]," said Pierce. "When you give up 50 percent [shooting], the last couple of games getting up over 100 points. I think we have to do a better job of perimeter players not allowing dribble penetration. I think that’s the start of it. It starts from the wing players. For the point guard to not allow our bigs to help so much, and that opens up so much of the game when we allow so much dribble penetration. That’s what you saw [Friday], a lot of dribble penetration from their guards. Big men help and they kick out for their threes that they hit."
Click HERE to read more on Rondo's single-season assist record.
What fine? KG finds out from 'Sheed about $25,000 fine
Maybe it shouldn't come as a surprise that Rasheed Wallace -- a frequent mail recipient from the league office -- was the one to inform Kevin Garnett of his $25,000 fine for criticizing the officiating after Wednesday's loss to Oklahoma City.
"To be honest, I didn’t even know I got fined until Rasheed told me a couple minutes before we hit the floor," said Garnett. "I could care less.”
Garnett voiced displeasure with the free throw disparity in Wednesday's game after the Thunder shot twice as many free throws as Boston, highlighted by a 15-for-15 effort by Thunder third-year forward Kevin Durant.
"I thought we were playing Michael [expletive] Jordan the way he was getting the whistle," Garnett said after the game. "Durant damn near shot more free throws than our whole team."
As for Friday's game, Garnett echoed Pierce in spotlighting Brooks' play as the difference in the game.
“I thought Aaron Brooks was over there aggressive, the way he was coming off of pick and rolls," said Garnett. "We were in a medium trap, but he was shooting, so that gave us a sign that he was gonna be aggressive tonight. We decided to trap off of him a little late, but it didn’t matter. I thought he and [Luis] Scola had a nice rhythm. The young kid, Chase [Budinger] hit some real big threes. I think they had a rotation of I think nine, if not eight, but they came in and they just ran some of the same stuff. You could tell right away that Aaron Brooks was the difference. We had him, from when we played them down in Houston, we had him under control. He was looking to make the pass and all of that stuff down there and tonight he was just overly aggressive."