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Celtics notebook

Good stuffs from Garnett, Rondo

Celtics guard Ray Allen is fouled by Jose Calderon of the Raptors on a drive to the hoop last night. Celtics guard Ray Allen is fouled by Jose Calderon of the Raptors on a drive to the hoop last night. (Brian Snyder/Reuters
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By Frank Dell’Apa
Globe Staff / October 15, 2009

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HARTFORD - Kevin Garnett passed the alley-oop test in the Celtics’ 106-90 exhibition win over Toronto last night. Garnett converted two dunks off lobs from Rajon Rondo, the first time they have combined on the play since Garnett was injured last February.

“That was nice,’’ coach Doc Rivers said. “Unexpected, actually, because Kevin got kneed in the calf in the first half, so I didn’t think he was running well. And all of a sudden, out of nowhere, he becomes the old Kevin.

“That’s the only thing, really, that you can see that he hasn’t done. And to see that, that’s really big.’’

Garnett, who had 16 points and six rebounds in 22:42 of playing time, slammed home a lob pass 6:48 into the contest for a 16-11 lead.

Rondo and Garnett then worked the play in transition in the second half, Garnett laying the ball in once and then dunking after outrunning his man. That slam ignited a 12-3 Celtic run over a 4:35 span, Paul Pierce’s follow off his own free throw miss increasing the advantage to 80-65 with 2:56 to go.

Asked if Garnett was improving, Pierce replied: “Definitely. You saw him getting up and down the court. He’s getting off the ground a lot better and it’s good to see him when he’s above the rim. We haven’t seen that in a while. We’ve seen flashes of it and we had a good chance to see it tonight.’’

Said Garnett: “Tonight was a flow night. Every time we step on the floor, it is to get better and, chemistry-wise, I thought we did just that.

“It was a little bit of a slow start. I say a slow start just because rhythm-wise, trying to figure out Toronto - it’s a new team. We haven’t seen them this year. Once we settled in and got our schemes together, I thought we played with a real nice rhythm.’’ The Celtics (4-1 in the exhibition season) and Raptors (2-3) will be rematched in Toronto Sunday afternoon.

A little giddy
J.R. Giddens delivered a strong performance in his longest stint as a Celtic during a 91-88 win over the Nets Tuesday night. Giddens led the team with 13 rebounds as the Celtics rallied from a 14-point deficit in the second half.

“I was going to get out there and make the best of it, no matter what happens,’’ Giddens said. “I was surprised I got that many minutes. I try to get better every day and make sure when I do get a chance, I make the best of those opportunities.’’

He also had a surprising line in the box score: 7 points on five field goal attempts.

“My family will probably laugh, knowing I played 33 minutes and only took five shots,’’ Giddens said. “That’s so unlike me. I’m going to have to defer offensively and give energy defensively and rebound and be all over the place, because, obviously, we’ve got so many offensive weapons. And, me being a young guy, and not proven offensively, I’m going to have to swing the ball and try to make plays for other people, and try to knock down the open shot, if it comes.

“Just got to play my role and, hopefully, one day it will be my time to have a big offensive role, whether it’s here or wherever I find myself in this game.’’

Asked if he had ever been so selective in shooting, Giddens replied: “It happened in the D-League, but my shooting hand was messed up pretty bad, so I was just supposed to play defense.

“This does a lot for my confidence, especially since I haven’t had extended minutes.’’

Giddens had 2 points in 13 minutes against the Raptors.

“I knew I was going to play spot minutes, everybody’s back playing,’’ Giddens said. “I just wanted to be energetic in the minutes I got and I felt like I did that.’’

X-cellent memory
Last night, Ray Allen was playing at the XL Center for the first time since his days at the University of Connecticut.

“I was reminded I never lost a game here,’’ he said. “That was something special. Every team I was on was so detail-oriented. We played a fast-paced brand of basketball, everybody knew what their roles were. I remember playing Virginia here, and I think it was Curtis Staples who came up to me and he said he was so in awe of the way we played. He said, ‘You guys are so in shape, we can’t keep up with you on offense and defense.’

“You remember the times in the locker room. Half the time, in the locker room - this locker room - it was so funny walking into it, because coach [Jim] Calhoun was always somewhat [angry] at us at halftime.

“He probably doesn’t remember it. We had this board on the wall, but it was wooden. I don’t know who we were playing, it was my freshman year, and he was so mad about what was going on.

“So we come in at halftime and he goes off. He went to kick the chalkboard and his foot got stuck in the chalkboard and he couldn’t get it out. I was sitting here and thinking, am I supposed to be laughing or just holding a tight face? And, I thought, don’t laugh, don’t laugh.’’

Wallace hobbled
Rasheed Wallace sustained a minor ankle sprain in the victory over New Jersey and did not play last night.

Frank Dell’Apa can be reached at f_dellapa@globe.com.

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