Rapid Reaction: Celtics 114, 76ers 108
Rapid reaction after the Boston Celtics defeated the Philadelphia 76ers 114-108 on Wednesday night at the Wells Fargo Center:
THE NITTY GRITTY
Jeff Green had one of those tantalizing nights, erupting for 36 points on 11-of-18 shooting with eight rebounds, two assists and two blocks over 35 minutes to pace Boston to consecutive wins. Rajon Rondo controlled the game, finishing with eight points, 11 assists and nine rebounds over 32 minutes. What's more, Rondo was plus-16 and the Celtics were simply a different offensive team when he was in the game. Jared Sullinger added 19 points and 10 rebounds, while Brandon Bass kicked in 18 points and six rebounds. Thaddeus Young scored a team-high 20 points for Philadelphia, while both Spencer Hawes (13 points, 14 rebounds) and Lavoy Allen (10 points, 10 rebounds) chipped in double-doubles.
GREEN IN FOCUS
The Celtics got locked-in Green, who rarely relented on Wednesday night. He finished alley-oops from Rondo in transition, he attacked the basket often, and he was red-hot beyond the 3-point arc (5-of-7). What's more, Green was active on the glass, he came up with a couple of nice blocks and he did all the things the Celtics want to see on a night-in, night-out basis.
Green scored 17 third-quarter points and a 3-pointer with 3:45 to play in the frame that put Boston out front by 12 (the team's biggest lead of the night). While the 76ers rallied to make it a one-possession game early in the fourth frame, the Celtics kept Philadelphia at arm's length (never letting the hosts get closer than four down the stretch). Sullinger's old-fashioned three-point play with 59 seconds to go had Boston out front by seven and pretty much ensured the 76ers wouldn't make things too interesting.
Joel Anthony and Phil Pressey were healthy DNPs for the Celtics. ... Vitor Faverani, recalled from the D-League on Wednesday, was not active after tweaking his knee in an appearance with the Maine Red Claws. ... In what could be his final game with the Celtics, Chris Johnson played only 3:09 and missed the only shot he took. Johnson's second 10-day pact expires on Thursday at midnight and his future remains unclear as Boston tries to maintain roster and financial flexibility. ... Avery Bradley played less than 26 minutes and sat out late while nursing a sore ankle. ... Jerryd Bayless added 11 points over 27:20 off the bench for Boston, while handing out five assists as he's settled into the role of top backup ball-handler.
WHAT IT MEANS
The Celtics (17-33) won consecutive games for the first time since Dec. 13-16 (when Boston improved to 12-14). With wins over two of their Eastern Conference basement roommates (Orlando and Philadelphia), the Celtics remain five games back of a playoff spot. Boston has an off day Thursday before hosting the Sacramento Kings on Friday. A visit from the Dallas Mavericks looms on Sunday, then games against Milwaukee and San Antonio before the All-Star break.
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