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Celtics 94, Rockets 87

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff  March 19, 2010 06:06 PM

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The rumor around the trade deadline was that the Cetlics were ready to send Ray Allen to Sacramento for Kevin Martin and Andres Nocioni. Of course, Ray Allen stayed put (and his shooting hand's on ever since) and Martin was dealt to Houston. "We were in the talks just like everyone else," Rivers said of Martin, who played just 22 games in Sacramento because of injury. 

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"Some of the things I read, it was never as close as it sounded. Put it like this. Danny and I had one conversation about it. So it wasn't as deep as people thought it was." 

Asked what he's seen out of Martin, Rivers said the 22.9 points in 13 games in Houston sticks out. 

"A lot of offense," Rivers said. "He can score. He's a great scorer. He was a great scorer in Sacramento. I think he fits Rick's system perfect, too. A lot of cuts, a lot of movement off the elbow. I think he's just a perfect fit for him."

When you look at them, it's hard not to compare. Aaron Brooks is 6 feet. Rajon Rondo's 6-feet-1-inch. Brooks was taken with the 26th pick in the 2007. Rondo was the 21st pick in 2006. Brooks can get to the paint whenever he wants. So can Rondo. Brooks broke out in last year's playoffs. So did Rondo.

The obvious difference is Brooks' shooting, but when he looked at them, Doc Rivers said, they're actually different types of players.

They’re so different as players. Brooks is more of a scoring point guard and then Rondo is more of a setup point guard. Both of them just have an amazing speed, similar bodies, and then the only other comparison is that they’re both very tough-minded guys. I think that’s what allows them to be so good.

... where somebody just upped the difficulty level a notch. 

The Celtics crushed New York and Detroit out of the gym in the Garden. Add to that the beating they put on the Pacers and that makes three straight blowouts at home. 

Obviously, hiding in there is a loss at Cleveland where the Celtics wen on a scoring drought that started with 2:05 in the third quarter and didn't end until almost midway through the fourth. Now, the Celtics have to run through some of the league's toughest teams, playing 12 possible playoff contenders, who've only lost one game this month. 

"It’s not all bad," said Celtics coach Doc Rivers. "We’re getting a team on the road that’s playing at their best. I don’t think that’s bad for us." 

There's obviously the matter of Aaron Brooks to deal with. He's dropped 31 points in each of the past two games, setting a team record two nights ago against Memphis by going 7 for 7 from 3-point range. 

Essentially, Brooks is a sharp-shooting Rajon Rondo. As far as how the Celtics will deal with him, Rivers said:

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We don’t change. We play our defense and our defense is guarding the three-point line.

Brooks doesn’t change much for us. He’s a great three-points shooter. But he also is a great penetrator too. I would say usually he wants the shot over the drive. We’re going to play him the same and hopefully that means him not getting 3s.

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