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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Pierce leads Celtics to 99-81 win

Celtics Journal

BOSTON – Paul Pierce scored 16 points and the Boston Celtics won their second game since losing Rajon Rondo for the season with a knee injury, beating the Sacramento Kings 99-81 on Wednesday night.

The Celtics charged to a 59-38 halftime lead as they hit 62.5 percent of their shots. They led by at least 14 points the rest of the way against the team that allowed an NBA-worst average of 103.2 points going into the game. ...

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BOSTON – Paul Pierce scored 16 points and the Boston Celtics won their second game since losing Rajon Rondo for the season with a knee injury, beating the Sacramento Kings 99-81 on Wednesday night.

The Celtics charged to a 59-38 halftime lead as they hit 62.5 percent of their shots. They led by at least 14 points the rest of the way against the team that allowed an NBA-worst average of 103.2 points going into the game.

Boston won despite losing another starter when forward Jared Sullinger left just over four minutes into the game with back spasms and didn’t return.

Tyreke Evans had 19 points and 11 rebounds and DeMarcus Cousins scored 13 for the Kings, who had beaten the Celtics 118-96 in Sacramento on Dec. 30 but fell to 5-18 on the road.

Notes

Get ready for a new production of Us Against the World, featuring the Boston Celtics.

“I don’t really see anything that’s changed over the last three years,” captain Paul Pierce said of being written off anew. “I mean, we were written off last year and the year before that. So there’s nothing changed in my mind.”

Kevin Garnett, when told national TV personality Magic Johnson said the Celts were out of the running without (Rajon) Rondo, scoffed.

“No. Who cares? Who cares? To be honest, who cares?” Garnett said.

Meanwhile, Rondo, who declined to speak Tuesday, received treatment and also received a steady flow of support.

“I think it’s the other way around,” Garnett said of whether Rondo offered any words of support for his teammates. “I think right now we’re being more of a support system for him and what he needs, especially some of the veterans and people who’ve had surgery and obviously career-based surgeries and giving him some expertise and advice on that.

“Other than that, we’re just like a support group for him.”

Barbosa steps up

Though Leandro Barbosa has generally been valued as a scorer throughout his career, the Brazilian has spent his share of time running an offense.

At the peak of his career, Barbosa backed up Steve Nash in Phoenix. So his changing role isn’t a particularly radical change.

“Almost my whole career,” Barbosa said. “Especially with the Phoenix Suns, when I would come in for Steve Nash.”

I played it on a lot of national teams, too. I don’t know if that’s the role I’m going to have, but if it is I will try to do my best. I’m not Rajon Rondo, I’m Leandro Barbosa, so my game is totally different.

“(Coach) Doc (Rivers)will tell me what he needs and we’ll see how it goes.”

Come on down

Fab Melo was brought down from Maine and the NBA Development League on Tuesday to practice with the varsity, though not too much should be read into the move.

“No,” Ainge said in a text when asked whether the rookie center’s presence had a bearing on the makeup of the parent team.

The Celtics president of basketball operations also texted, “No,” when asked if he had changed his mind about not considering Keyon Dooling for a return from retirement.

According to a published report, Rivers encouraged his former guard to start getting in shape with a return in mind.

Green team

Could this be the time when Jeff Green irons out the consistency in his game? The Celts need that now more than ever.

“Every game that he plays well is a big game for him,” said Rivers. “The New York game was a big game for him. We didn’t win the game, but I just thought he defended Carmelo (Anthony) down the stretch. It was probably a big game in terms of mentally leaving Jeff on him. That allowed me to leave him on LeBron (James), even whether LeBron scored or not.

“It’s crazy, (assistant coach) Kevin Eastman said Jeff played a very good game, and LeBron still scored 34 points. But you liked the points that he had. He only had two or three at the basket. That might be the first time in five years that we shot more free throws than Miami.”