Celtics defeat Emporio Armani in exhibition game in Italy

EA7 Emporio Armani's Richard Hendrix, center, gets the ball against Boston Celtics' Paul Pierce, left, and Kevin Garnett (5), during an exhibition basketball game in Milan, Italy, Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012. AP Photo/Luca Bruno)
EA7 Emporio Armani's Richard Hendrix (center) found himself doubled-up on defense by the Celtics' Paul Pierce (left) and Kevin Garnett in their exhibition game in Milan, Italy.

MILAN – The Celtics turned in one of those “that’s more like it” performances Sunday at the Mediolanum Forum against Emporio Armani Milano, using their defense and brilliant execution to thrill a sellout crowd filled with Celtics fans.

With former Brockton resident and boxer Marvelous Marvin Hagler in the house, the Celtics put on a performance worthy of a champion. Rajon Rondo scored 17 points on 7-for-7 shooting in the first quarter and the Celtics used stifling defense to cruise to a 105-75 win.

Boston led 34-31 at the end of the first quarter and then put locks on EA7 Milano, holding the Italian team to 16-for-64 shooting and 44 points. Paul Pierce added 14 for the Celtics and Jeff Green turned in another strong game with 17 points, including three 3-pointers.

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Kevin Garnett needed to play only 12 minutes, 23 seconds as the Celtics outclassed their second European opponent after Friday’s disappointing 97-91 loss to Fenerbahce Ulker in Turkey. Jared Sullinger, who got the start at power forward, added nine points and seven rebounds.

Meanwhile, Darko Milicic continued to prove motivated to contribute as he tallied eight rebounds, three assists and three blocked shots in the second quarter alone.

EA7 Milano used a 9-2 run to cut the deficit to 64-55 with 6:17 left in the third quarter, but the Celtics responded with a 13-0 run, six on 3-pointers by Jason Terry, and the Celtics were never threatened.

Ioannis Bourousis led EA7 Milano with 15 points while former Oregon standout Malik Hairston added 11.