Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo are carrying the Celtics early in the 2012-13 season.With help from our friends at ESPN Stats & Information, a look at some noteworthy numbers before the Celtics kick off a three-game road trip in Houston on Friday night:
* TEXAS THREE-STEP: Fresh off a 117-115 double-overtime victory against the visiting Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday, the Celtics visit Texas for games against Houston (Friday) and San Antonio (Saturday). According to Elias Sports Bureau, the last time that Boston faced all three Texas teams in successive games was in March 2008 and the Celtics swept those three games.
* TIME FOR REALIGNMENT? While the Western Conference has been regarded as the more difficult conference (top to bottom, at least) in recent years, the Celtics are 5-1 against the West this season (their only loss coming against San Antonio). What's more, Boston is averaging 103.8 points per game against West foes. Against the East, the Celtics are a mere 7-8 while scoring 96.1 points per game.
* NEED FOR QUALITY WINS: Two of Boston's three games on the road will come against teams above .500 (Houston enters a game below that mark). The Celtics are a mere 7-8 against teams at or above .500 this season, and 5-1 against those that are below .500.
* PIERCE: PROFESSIONAL SCORER: Celtics captain Paul Pierce has scored 20-plus points 10 times this season; the rest of the Celtics have combined for 20-plus just six times (Rajon Rondo 3, Kevin Garnett 2, Jason Terry 1). Over Boston’s last seven games, Pierce is the only player to record 20-plus points in a game, doing so twice. Pierce is averaging a team-leading 19.9 points, which would be the most by a Celtics player in his 15th season or later in the franchise’s storied history.
* A NEW DOUBLE-DIGIT TARGET FOR RONDO: Rajon Rondo's assist streak was snapped at 37 games last month when he was ejected against the Nets. Rondo has still posted double-digit assists in 41 of his last 42 games. He now has 180 career games with at least 10 assists, which ranks second in team history behind only Bob Cousy (249). Rondo has already leapfrogged Larry Bird (118) and John Havlicek (92) in terms of double-digit assist games.
Celtics With KG On/Off Court
Per 48 Minutes This Season
* KG'S IMPACT HARD TO IGNORE: Much has been made about the way Boston struggles when Kevin Garnett is off the floor. Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said Thursday during his weekly appearance on Boston sports radio WEEI that the team has improved in that area, but that there is still a noticeable drop in intensity without Garnett on the court. The numbers at right support that. The Celtics need to find a way to maintain their defensive intensity when Garnett goes to the bench.