Rajon Rondo

Why you should care about Wednesday's Celtics win: Rajon Rondo's spectacular return, Marcus Smart's debut

October 29, 2014 - 6:22 pm
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The Celtics hosted the Nets on an opening night where it seemed nothing could go wrong for the home team at TD Garden. First the C's took a 26-point lead into halftime, then they dropped 101 points by end of the third quarter thanks to a Kelly Olynyk buzzer-beater. In the end, the Celtics played extremely well as a whole, winning 121-105 while shooting an insane 55.7 percent from the field for the game (€Click here for the box score). And it was Rajon Rondo who gave them the shot in the arm that they really needed, not missing any games after breaking a bone in his left hand just 33 days ago. Rondo dazzled in his return Rondo returned to action just shy of five weeks after having surgery to repair a broken bone in his left hand and was better than ever. Wearing protective padding over his injured hand, Rondo posted a near triple-double in his first game action since April, finishing with 13 points (6-for-9 from the field), 12 assists and seven rebounds in just under 30 minutes of action. Brad Stevens said prior to the game that there is no minute restriction on his star point guard, but he will open up the season playing in these types of short "stints" followed by even shorter rests. "I thought he played great," Stevens said of Rondo after the win. "I probably played him in the second half too long of stints for what I wanted to at one time, but I actually thought one of the best parts of the game for us was the fact that we went to the bench and we just kept going. And the bench made such a great contribution, and Rondo just kind of fit in seamlessly." Marcus Smart was solid in his first regular-season game Making his NBA debut, Smart got his first basket as a pro by stealing an inbound pass and taking it all the way to the rim for an easy dunk early in the second quarter. Smart finished the game with 10 points on 3-for-7 shooting, but was even better on the defensive side of the ball, collecting four steals to go along with his typical lockdown defense. Fellow rookie James Young received did not play. Eight Celtics scored in double figures The Celtics'€™ victory was a complete team effort on all fronts with the scoring distribution echoing that. Olynyk led eight C'€™s in double-figures with 19 points, followed by Jeff Green (17), and Avery Bradley (15). Rondo and Jared Sullinger added 13 apiece, while Smart, Evan Turner and Marcus Thornton all had 10. On top of that, the only other two Celtics that played, Brandon Bass and Tyler Zeller, had eight and six points, respectively. The fans showed much love for Kevin Garnett Garnett returned to the Garden to play in his second game in Boston since departing to Brooklyn in a trade prior to last season. Garnett received a loud round of applause followed by plenty of chanting and cheering when he was announced in the starting lineup. It wasn't quite as heartfelt as when he and Paul Pierce returned together with the Nets last January, but it'€™s clear that Boston still loves it some KG. The Celtics now have a couple of days of practice before a road trip takes them to Texas to play the Rockets on Saturday and the Mavericks on Monday.