Ex-Cats notes: Season-high 18 assists for Rondo; Noel hints at return on April 4

Wire, Staff and Special ReportsMarch 9, 2014 

The Boston Celtics overcame Detroit's dominance inside by passing the ball precisely and protecting it better than they had all season.

Rajon Rondo had 18 of Boston's season-high 38 assists and the Celtics committed just seven turnovers in a 118-111 win over the visiting Detroit Pistons on Sunday.

"When one guy has it going as far as passing the ball, it's contagious," said Rondo, who also scored 11 points and didn't turn the ball over. "We scored a bunch of points tonight. We kept on pushing. We played free and just had fun."

Jeff Green scored 27 points, Kris Humphries had 20 points and 11 rebounds, and Kelly Olynyk added 18 points off the bench for the Celtics in their second-highest scoring output of the season.

Jerryd Bayless had 15 points and Jared Sullinger 14 for the Celtics, who got at least one assist from every player who entered the game.

"I think we do have a pretty unselfish group moving the ball. We missed a couple of extra passes, but not very many," Boston Coach Brad Stevens said. "It's good to see the body movement and the ball movement. I think we've been pretty active on that end of the floor."

Cousins' big game not enough against Nets

Marcus Thornton has been around the Brooklyn Nets for only two weeks, so he's still trying to learn his new team's playbook. According to Nets first-year coach Jason Kidd, there are some plays his reserve guard understands pretty well.

"It's called 'shoot it,'" Kidd said.

Thornton did just that on his way to scoring 15 of his 27 points in the fourth quarter against his old team, while Joe Johnson added 18 points to help Brooklyn to a 104-89 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Sunday.

Thornton was acquired from the Kings in exchange for Reggie Evans and Jason Terry on Feb. 19.

DeMarcus Cousins had 20 points and 28 rebounds to lead the Kings, and Rudy Gay added 20 points.

"Turnovers killed us tonight," Cousins said. "Turnovers and I'd say selfish basketball; that's what really hurt us tonight. We let Marcus Thornton get hot. We let one of those shooters hurt us and that's what kind of sealed the game."

Noel hints at return

Philadelphia 76ers center Nerlens Noel's tweet Sunday was short — "4-4-14" — but potentially sweet.

Sources told the Philadelphia Inquirer that the former Kentucky standout was indeed signalling that he hopes to make his NBA debut on April 4 at Boston.

The Massachusetts native has missed all of his rookie season so far because of the torn ACL he suffered during his only season with UK.

If Noel was able to return against his hometown team, it would come with seven games left to play on the schedule, although his minutes would be limited and he would be unlikely to play on back-to-back nights.

Patterson out 7 to 10 days

Toronto Raptors forward Patrick Patterson will miss the next seven to 10 days with a sprained right elbow.

Coach Dwane Casey said Patterson has been bothered by the injury for some time, but he aggravated it Friday in a win over Sacramento.

Patterson is averaging 9.7 points, 5.2 rebounds and 23.4 minutes a game with Toronto. He has shot 44 percent from three-point range.

Lexington Herald-Leader is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service