Rondo put up a season-high 22 shots, only the eighth time in his career he has reached that mark, and five of those were playoff games. Despite misfiring on 15 of those attempts, he finished with 18 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds over 35:33 and was a team-best plus-16 in plus/minus.
After teams dared him recently to shoot from the perimeter, Rondo attacked Wednesday when the Suns allowed him room to drive. Rondo put up a whopping 15 shots near the rim, accounting for more than a quarter of his season output near the basket. He missed 12 of those shots, but also got to the free throw line for a season-high five attempts.
"Playing an up-tempo team like this, I had a lot of easy looks at the rim that I missed tonight," Rondo said. "Whether it was a foul or not, I still missed those shots. I got a lot of easy looks that I’ll take every night."
Does he have a target number of shots he's looking for now?
"I don’t keep count of my shots when I play," Rondo said. "It’s not a target. It’s just the flow of the game. There was a lot of jump shots, a lot of layups, a lot of floaters that I missed that I’ll take every night."
Rondo made 4-of-5 shots in the midrange, including three straight jumpers from beyond 17 feet as Boston made a fourth-quarter charge. While Rondo continues to show an ability to knock down perimeter shots, his desire to attack the basket when given space is an encouraging sign, particularly as he looks for more contact while working his way back from the ACL injury.
Ain't easy being green
Gerald Green seems to have finally found an NBA home.
Green, drafted 18th overall by the Celtics in 2005, spent two years in Boston and despite averaging 10.4 points per game during the 2006-07 season, he's best remembered for two things: (1) Winning the Slam Dunk contest and (2) handing off his No. 5 jersey to Kevin Garnett when he was part of the trade package that brought the Big Ticket to Boston in the summer of 2007.
Reflecting before Wednesday's game, Green laughed and noted it was a no-brainer for Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge to make that trade. Green appeared in only 29 games for the Timberwolves before being traded to Houston, where he was waived soon after. A stint with Dallas followed in 2008-09, but Green spent two seasons (2009-2011) playing in Russia.
He resuscitated his NBA career with the Nets after being a late-season addition in 2012, then signed with the Indiana Pacers. But his career is finally taking flight again in Phoenix, where he was traded this past summer. Entering Wednesday's game, Green was averaging 14.6 points over 28.2 minutes per game in 52 appearances including 34 starts.
Green finished with 17 points on 6-of-14 shooting with five rebounds in Wednesday's win.
Does he have fond memories of Boston?
"I think about it all the time," Green said. "We weren’t really that good. Just the fans there. I always talk about the fans there. I’ve never really played in a city like Boston as far as the fans. We lost 18 in a row, still sold-out crowds. As an NBA player, you appreciate that type of support, night in and night out."
And many in Boston still have a soft spot for the preps-to-pro kid who never quite got a chance to find his way in green. Visiting last season with the Pacers, Green was surprised how many locals recognized him around the city.
"Every time I go somewhere around the city, people recognize me. I don’t know how they do, but they do," Green said. "It’s always a great feeling for me to go back to the city of Boston. I always feel like that was one of my second homes. I'll always cherish and remember those moments when I was there."
Read on for a few additional postgame notes.
• Sullinger's OK: Jared Sullinger subbed out in the final seconds of Wednesday's game after experiencing what he believes was simply a bad cramp in his right leg. He chalked it up to a week off that included a lot of travel and pledged to stay hydrated moving forward.
• Rondo vs. Dragic: Rondo on his battles with Goran Dragic: "He’s at an unbelievable pace right now. I think he might be playing better over the last 9-10 games than any point guard in the league. I don’t want to make it a one-on-one challenge; basketball is about five guys."
• Team in transition: The Suns' PR staff noted that the Suns outscored Boston 30-8 in fast-break points on Wednesday and this is the fifth time this season that Phoenix has outscored an opponent by at least 20 points in that category. The Suns have scored 30 fast break points six times this season. Asked about the breakneck pace, Celtics coach Brad Stevens quipped, "I think they still lead the league after tonight, that's safe to say. ... We can all agree that that team pushes it harder -- or as hard as -- any team we've seen all year, even more so than it looked on film."