Playing their first game with the weight of the knowledge that Rajon Rondo will not be returning this season, the Celtics avenged an embarrassing defeat by dispatching the Sacramento Kings, 99-81.
Exactly one month ago, the Celtics visited Sacramento and left with their tail between their legs, following a 118-96 beatdown.
Things were the complete opposite tonight, as Boston led by as much as 28 in the middle of the game, and withstood any advances the Kings made in the final quarter. All that changed was the location, and swapping Avery Bradley for Rajon Rondo. The Kings also added Tyreke Evans to the mix this time around.
It was an all-around team effort for the Celtics, who had seven players in double-figures. They were led by Paul Pierce, who posted 16 points and 10 rebounds. The captain brought his scoring when the team needed him to slam the door in the second half.
Kevin Garnett posted 13 points, nine rebounds and five assists and Avery Bradley tallied 11 points, while holding Isaiah Thomas to just 2-of-10 shooting. Off the bench, it was Brandon Bass, Jeff Green and Jason Terry all with 12 points.
Without Rondo, the Celtics assisted on 22 of their 39 made shots. They shot 53 percent from the field as a team.
For the Kings, it was another depressing game. Tyreke Evans was the lone bright spot, finishing with 19 points and 11 rebounds.
Jared Sullinger started and played four minutes before heading to the bench. He then made his way into the locker room to get treatment on back spasms, and did not return.
Boston improves to 22-23 on the season, and 4-3 without Rondo. They have won the first two games of their four-game home-stand and return to action Friday night against the Orlando Magic at the Garden.
You can follow Mike Walsh on Twitter @3rdStringWalshWalsh 1/30/2013 09:57:00 PM Tweet