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Celtics waste no time dismantling Bulls
By Lindsey Willhite | Daily Herald Staff

Rajon Rondo (20 points, 11 rebounds, 6 assists, 5 steals) completely outplayed NBA Rookie of the Year Derrick Rose (4-of-14 shooting, 2 assists, 7 turnovers) during Game 3 on Thursday.


Associated Press

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Published: 4/23/200 11:06 PM

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Within 90 minutes after the final horn sounded on Boston's Game 3 whipping of the Bulls on Thursday night, the United Center crew dismantled the floor and made the joint look like a rink again.

Had the workers been able to start their makeover job when Game 3 unofficially ended, they would've been done before the game's finish.

Just like the Celtics planned.

With Paul Pierce hunting his shot from the game's first possession and point guard Rajon Rondo dominating every other possession - regardless of which team had the ball - the Celtics offered more than a glimpse of their world-championship form during a 107-86 rout.

"Paul said it: We hadn't played our 'A' game," Rondo said. "Tonight I think we did it defensively - and Paul got it going early."

Pierce scored 13 of his game-high 24 points in the first six-plus minutes as he blitzed John Salmons with every trick in his bag.

Pierce drilled 6 of his first 7 shots as he mixed drives with step-back 15-footers and a 3-pointer.

"In Game 1 and 2, I was a little indecisive but I'm getting comfortable with what they want to do," Pierce said. "I tried to be as aggressive as possible."

When Pierce left after eight minutes with 2 fouls, Rondo took over. The second-year man overwhelmed Derrick Rose with 20 points, 11 rebounds, 6 assists and 5 steals in "just" 34 minutes.

Rondo got to leave the game for good so early - and take off his shoes and socks while relaxing on the floor - he provided a bit of drama at game's end because he couldn't use his right foot.

Teammate Bill Walker and a Celtics official carried Rondo all the way from the court to the locker room.

Rondo, who battled a sprained ankle in Boston, claimed it was nothing more than an overprotective tape job that affected the bottom of his foot. Of course, he said this with both legs ankle-deep in an ice tub.

"My ankles are fine," Rondo said.

He was much more comfortable going into depth on how the Celtics slowed down Ben Gordon (5 of 13, 15 points) and Rose, who shot 4 of 14 and committed a career-high-tying 7 turnovers.

"We didn't want (Gordon) going in the first quarter, so we started early with the blitz," Rondo said. "We made him give it up and deny him the ball."

For all of the extras Rondo provided Thursday, he didn't stuff the stat sheet like power forward Big Baby Davis.

In addition to 14 points and 9 rebounds, Davis provided career-highs in steals (6), assists (6) and blocks (3).

In other words, he did a solid Kevin Garnett impression - though the quote-machine aspect needs a little work.

"We know when we play Celtics basketball," Davis said, "it's hard for any team to beat us."