Rondo’s Return to Boston and the Rest of Friday Night’s NBA Action

Friday night marked Rajon Rondo’s first game back in the city of Boston to face the Celtics since being traded to the Dallas Mavericks in mid-December. A video tribute to the point guard, who had played for the Celtics since he was drafted by the Phoenix Suns and subsequently traded to Boston on Draft day in 2006, was played on the jumbotron at the end of the first quarter. Rondo received an appreciative ovation from fans in the arena, a gesture acknowledging his significant contributions to the team in their 2007-08 NBA Championship winning season. On Friday, Rondo reminded fans of just how dominant he can be when he’s at the top of his game.

Dallas Mavericks 119
Boston Celtics 101
Rajon Rondo receives a standing ovation from Celtics fans following a video tribute to the former Boston point guard (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Rajon Rondo receives a standing ovation from Celtics fans following a video tribute for the former Boston point guard (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

The Dallas Mavericks stormed into Boston Friday night, holding the Celtics scoreless for the final four-and-a-half minutes of the first quarter, and pulling out to leads of as much as 19 points in the first half, en route to a 119-101 victory.

Former Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo led the Mavericks offensive attack scoring 18 points in the first half, and finishing the night with a team-high 29 points. He added five assists and six rebounds on the stat sheet. Monta Ellis chipped in 22 points to go along with five rebounds and Dirk Nowitzki pitched in with 17 points. Tyson Chandler posted a game-high 16 rebounds in the win.

For the Celtics, Avery Bradley led the way dropping in 22 points, while Tyler Zeller scored 17 points and collected 10 rebounds for his third double-double of the season. None of the players the Celtics acquired from the Mavericks in exchange for Rondo had much impact on the game, with Jameer Nelson shooting just 2-of-9 in 14 minutes off the bench, scoring 7 points.

DAL: None
BOS: Tyler Zeller – 17 points/10 rebounds


In other NBA action:

Cleveland Cavaliers 91
Charlotte Hornets 87

The Cleveland Cavaliers were without LeBron James Friday night, but managed to hold off a fourth quarter comeback attempt by the Charlotte Hornets to secure a 91-87 win on the road.

Tristan Thompson, who has seen an increase in playing time since Anderson Varejao suffered a season-ending achilles injury, played a team-high 43 minutes, tallying a double-double with 14 points and 14 rebounds. Kevin Love, on 9-of-15 shooting including a 3-of-4 night from beyond the arc, scored a game-high 27 points and Kyrie Irving, who turned in a strong defensive effort with four steals, added 23 points.

The Hornets were without their leading scorer Friday, as center Al Jefferson is expected to miss a few weeks with a groin injury, and second-leading scorer Kemba Walker struggled shooting the ball. Walker hit just 4 of his 16 shots from the field, making only one of his 8 3-point attempts, and ended the night with 10 points in 40 minutes on the floor. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist did his part scoring 12 points and reeling in 10 rebounds for a double-double. Gary Neal added 11 points in 24 minutes off the bench.

CLE: Tristan Thompson – 14 points/14 rebounds
CHA: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist – 12 points/10 rebounds

Brooklyn Nets 100
Orlando Magic 98

The Brooklyn Nets allowed a 25-point fourth quarter lead to all but vanish on them Friday, as they barely hung on to defeat the Orlando Magic 100-98.

The Nets took a 12-point lead into halftime, spurred by a 10-point second quarter for Deron Williams, and were able to push that lead to 25 points by the end of the third quarter. Orlando managed to close the gap to as little as 2 points, but could not complete the comeback. Center Mason Plumlee led the offense with 18 points on 9-of-10 shooting, while Williams poured in 16 points off the bench. Brook Lopez added 16 points off the bench as well, adding 8 rebounds and 3 blocks.

Orlando received strong play from rookie point guard Elfrid Payton who finished the night one rebound shy of a triple-double. He scored 16 points to go along with 10 assists and 9 rebounds. Victor Oladipo chipped in 17 points and Ben Gordon provided 14 points and 4 rebounds in just 19 minutes off the bench.

BKN: None
ORL: Elfrid Payton – 16 points/10 assists

Detroit Pistons 97
New York Knicks 81

In a matchup between two struggling teams, the Detroit Pistons outplayed the New York Knicks, grabbing a 97-81 victory on the road at Madison Square Garden.

The Pistons held the Knicks to just 35.2% shooting while shooting 50% as a team themselves. Led by an impressive offensive outburst from Brandon Jennings, the Pistons took a 19-point lead into halftime and never really allowed the Knicks to gain much ground. Jennings scored 29 points in just 25 minutes on the floor, and Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe combined to pull in 30 rebounds in the win.

The Knicks could not find any consistency shooting the ball, with J.R. Smith making 8 of his 20 shots to lead the team with 22 points. Cole Aldrich shot just 5-of-15 but secured a double-double with 11 points and 14 rebounds. Quincy Acy and Travis Wear combined to shoot 8-of-22 off the bench, for 18 total points.

DET: Greg Monroe – 12 points/10 rebounds
NYK: Cole Aldrich – 11 points/14 rebounds

Houston Rockets 83
New Orleans Pelicans 111
Jimmer Fredette soars to the basket for a layup against the Houston Rockets (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

Jimmer Fredette soars to the basket for a layup against the Houston Rockets (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

Led by the strong shooting performances of Tyreke Evans and Ryan Anderson, the New Orleans Pelicans cruised to a 28-point win over the Houston Rockets at home.

Evans went 10-of-15 shooting to score 21 points and Anderson drained three 3-pointers en route to a team-high 22 points in 24 minutes off the bench. Team scoring leader Anthony Davis chipped in just 7 points, but provided solid defensive play, fighting for two steals and adding three blocks, to push his league-lead to 93 blocks for the season.

Despite being blown out, the Rockets did receive a steady offensive effort from Dwight Howard who shot 6-of-8 for 12 points, and James Harden who pitched in with 11 points. The Rockets as a team shot just 6-of-29 from three-point range, with Harden making just 1-of-6 attempts, and Corey Brewer missing all 5 three-pointers he fired up.

HOU: None
NO: None

Washington Wizards 102
Oklahoma City Thunder 109

John Wall and Bradley Beal each posted a double-double Friday, but their efforts were not enough, as Kevin Durant’s 34-point night carried the Oklahoma City Thunder past the Washington Wizards 109-102.

Durant, who missed six games in December, followed up a 44-point effort on Wednesday with 34 points Friday night. He added 8 rebounds and two assists to get his team off to a good start in the new year. Russell Westbrook scored 22 points to go along with six assists and Reggie Jackson chipped in 9 points and 8 assists off the bench.

For the second time in three games, Beal led the Wizards in scoring, dropping in 21 points and hauling in 10 rebounds, while Wall scored 14 points and dished out 12 assists. The double-double for Wall, who had 10 double-doubles in December, was his 19th of the season. Andre Miller pitched in 15 points in 20 minutes off the bench.

WAS: Bradley Beal – 21 points/10 rebounds; John Wall – 14 points/12 assists
OKC: None

Indiana Pacers 94
Milwaukee Bucks 91

The Indiana Pacers utilized a quality fourth quarter performance to outlast the Milwaukee Bucks for a 94-91 victory on the road.

C.J. Miles led all players with 22 points, coming off the bench to guide the Pacers to the win. He shot 6-of-9 from long range and added four rebounds and two blocks to his stat line. Roy Hibbert dropped in 18 points to go along with 7 rebounds and Donald Sloan scored 10 points while spreading the ball around, tallying six assists.

The Bucks offensive production was headed by Brandon Knight who scored 20 points and dished out 7 assists. Zaza Pachulia and John Henson each posted a double-double for Milwaukee. Pachulia pitched in 12 points and hauled in 14 rebounds, while Henson deposited 14 points and pulled down 10 rebounds. Giannis Antetokounmpo pitched in on the defensive end with four blocks.

IND: None
MIL: Zaza Pachulia – 12 points/14 rebounds; John Henson – 14 points/10 rebounds

Philadelphia 76ers 96
Phoenix Suns 112

The losses just continue to pile up for the Philadelphia 76ers as they suffered their 27th loss of the season Friday night, falling to the Phoenix Suns 112-96.

For the Suns, it was proficient three-point shooting that propelled them to victory, with the team shooting 14-of-32 from beyond the arc. Markieff Morris and Gerald Green led the way, each draining 3 three-pointers and finishing with 21 points. Eric Bledsoe also nailed 3 three-pointers and ended the night with 17 points and 8 assists. Center Alex Len did not score in the game, but made significant defensive contributions, blocking 6 shots and collecting five rebounds.

If there exists a silver lining for the 76ers this season, it’s that the young, talented core of players they have obtained as part of their rebuilding process are growing, maturing, and rounding into form every night. Third-year shooting guard Tony Wroten led all scorers on the night with 28 points and second-year point guard Michael Carter-Williams chipped in with 17 points and 7 rebounds. Off the bench, Henry Sims added 16 points on 6-of-7 shooting.

PHI: None
PHX: Goran Dragic – 10 points/10 rebounds

Atlanta Hawks 98
Utah Jazz 92

The Atlanta Hawks took a 5-4 lead with 9 minutes remaining in the first quarter and never looked back, holding the lead for the remainder of the game, en route to a 98-92 victory over the Utah Jazz.

Jeff Teague netted 26 points and dished out 8 assists and Al Horford pitched in with 10 points, five rebounds and two blocks to guide the Hawks. Paul Millsap shot a miserable 2-of-11 from the field, but went 10-of-10 from the free throw lines to close the night with 15 points. He also pulled down 11 rebounds to give himself his 8th double-double of the season.

Gordon Hayward paced the Jazz offense, leading the team with 18 points. Both Utah centers, Enes Kanter and Rudy Gobert, finished the game with 11 points, and Trevor Booker came up one rebound shy of a double-double scoring 10 points and collecting 9 boards. Trey Burke experienced one of his worst shooting games as a pro, going 2-of-19 from the floor which included missing all 11 of his three-point attempts.

ATL: Paul Millsap – 15 points/11 rebounds
UTA: None

Toronto Raptors 105
Golden State Warriors 126
Golden State's Stephen Curry finishes strong with a dunk against Toronto's Kyle Lowry (7). (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Golden State’s Stephen Curry (30) finishes strong with a dunk against Toronto’s Kyle Lowry (7). (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

For the second consecutive game, the first-place Golden State Warriors scored 126 points as a team in a 126-105 rout of the Toronto Raptors Friday night.

Propelled by Stephen Curry’s 32-point night and Draymond Green’s triple-double, the Warriors cruised to an easy win and give themselves a one-game lead on second-place Portland in the Western Conference. Curry’s 32 points came on 10-of-18 shooting and he added 12 assists to tally his 8th double-double of the season. Green finished the game with 16 points, 13 assists, and 12 rebounds to earn himself the first triple-double of his career. Marreese Speights poured in 26 points and Klay Thompson added 20 points.

With the loss, the Raptors moved a 1/2-game behind first-place Atlanta, who won Friday, in the Eastern Conference standings. Raptors guard Greivis Vasquez led the team in scoring with 25 points off the bench. Kyle Lowry pitched in with 22 points while dishing out 8 assists. Amir Johnson posted a double-double, scoring 12 points and grabbing 10 rebounds.

TOR: Amir Johnson – 12 points/10 rebounds
GS: Stephen Curry – 32 points/12 assists; Draymond Green – 16 points/13 assists/12 rebounds (Triple-Double)

Memphis Grizzlies 109
Los Angeles Lakers 106

A last-second, game-tying three-point attempt from Kobe Bryant would not go, and the Memphis Grizzlies escaped with a 109-106 road win against the Los Angeles Lakers Friday night.

Mike Conley led the Grizzlies offensive charge with 19 points and 8 assists. Marc Gasol splashed down with 18 points and 10 rebounds for his 10th double-double of the season. Beno Udrih scored 16 points in 16 minutes off the bench and Tayshaun Prince added another 12 points off the bench to go along with four rebounds.

Ed Davis and Jeremy Lin carried the Lakers offense as each scored 20 points in the game. Davis pulled in 8 rebounds and had 2 blocks, while Lin dished out 5 assists and managed to grab three steals. Bryant stuffed the stat sheet, putting up 15 points beside 9 assists and 8 rebounds.

MEM: Marc Gasol – 18 points/10 rebounds
LAL: None