Rajon Rondo had a stellar second half to help lead the Boston Celtics to a 107-97 win over the San Antonio Spurs in a big East-West matchup on Thursday. Rondo had 12 points, 10 assists and zero turnovers in the second half to push the Celtics forward. He finished the game with 22 points and 14 assists. Paul Pierce scored 21 and added 11 rebounds and seven assists; Kevin Garnett scored 20 on 9-12 shooting.
The Spurs, now losers of five straight, struggled on both ends of the court. San Antonio averaged 1.04 points per possession as Boston's elite defense held the rusty Spurs attack down. Meanwhile, the Celtics' mediocre offense blew up, scoring 1.15 points per possession. Boston had struggled on offense against teams far less talented defensively than Spurs of late.
The Spurs' offense got a big boost from the return of Tim Duncan, who had missed four games with an ankle injury. He scored 20 points on 8-12 shooting and added 13 rebounds. But he also had five turnovers. Manu Ginobili shot just 4-13 from the floor, and none of San Antonio's reserves performed very well. Tony Parker (23 points on 9-16) was able to score on Rondo, and Richard Jefferson hit 4-of-8 on three-pointers, but the Spurs' attack just wasn't what it had been before All-Star Weekend.
It remains to be seen whether the Celtics are back on track after going 5-7 over their previous 12 games, or whether this performance is another indication that the season is catching up to the Spurs. The truth is likely somewhere in the middle, though it's hard to ignore how good Rondo was and how much Duncan helped. For the sake of competition, let's hope both teams are at their best come April 14.