Thursday, December 12, 2013
The Associated Press
CHICAGO — Rajon Rondo extended his own pursuit of a record and helped the Boston Celtics reverse some recent history.
Rajon Rondo had another big night directing Boston’s offense, missing a triple-double by one rebound. He finished with 20 points, nine rebounds and 10 assists.
The Associated Press
Kevin Garnett shoots over Nazr Mohammed of the Bulls during Monday’s game in Chicago. Garnett scored 15 points for the Celtics, who climbed above the .500 mark for the first time this season.
The Associated Press
WEDNESDAY: Jazz at Celtics, 7:30 p.m. (CSN)
THURSDAY: Celtics at Nets, 8 p.m. (CSN, TNT)
Rondo had 20 points, nine rebounds and 10 assists to lead the Boston Celtics to a 101-95 win over the Chicago Bulls on Monday night. He stretched his streak of consecutive games with 10 or more assists to 31, the longest in the NBA since John Stockton had 37 straight in 1989.
“We played pretty well offensively,” Rondo said. “Besides the turnovers I had, we took pretty good care of the ball. We got out on the break, kept it simple offensively.”
Rondo, who leads the NBA with an average of 12.9 assists per game, took advantage of Bulls point guard Nate Robinson, doing all of his scoring in the first three quarters to help the Celtics build a 12-point lead while shooting 56 percent.
“(Rondo) had an excellent game,” Celtics Coach Doc Rivers said. “He is starting to get comfortable with the players that are out there on the floor and what he can call with them there.”
Brandon Bass led four other Celtics in double figures with 16 points, and Boston held off a furious late Chicago rally to snap a five-game losing streak at the United Center. Kevin Garnett had 15 points.
Luol Deng led the Bulls with 26 points and 11 rebounds. Joakim Noah added 17 points and 11 rebounds, and led Chicago’s fourth-quarter rally with nine points.
The Celtics became the first team to score 100 points against the Bulls since April 8 of last season, ending a streak that had reached 15 games.
“They scored 58 points in the first half,” Bulls Coach Tom Thibodeau said. “You give up 33 (points in the first quarter) to a team like that, you’re giving them confidence and they’re hard to slow down after that.”
The Bulls held Boston without a point for 5:15 of the fourth quarter, scoring 10 straight to pull within 87-84. Chicago had five straight possessions to close the gap further but couldn’t, and Jason Terry finally snapped the Celtics’ drought with a jumper with just under 5 minutes to play.
“They did make a good run at us,” said Paul Pierce, who was held to 10 points on 4-for-13 shooting.
“We just have to run to the finish line in games. There were a few times when I thought we were up 12 to 14 and could have gone to 20 and didn’t.”
Rookie Marquis Teague replaced Robinson in the fourth quarter and helped curb Rondo’s scoring.
Noah outplayed Garnett during the Chicago comeback, aggressively driving to the basket while Garnett missed three straight jumpers on the other end, including an air ball that landed out of bounds.
In the final minute, Deng made two free throws to cut the lead to three, but after a timeout Rondo passed to Garnett for an alley-oop dunk with 41.9 seconds to play.
“Actually, we covered that play in the pregame,” Thibodeau said. “They’re good at it.”
After Taj Gibson missed two free throws, Rondo passed to Bass for a dunk to seal the win and extend his assists streak.
The Celtics shot just 35 percent in the fourth after their strong start.
The Celtics used a 10-0 run over a 3:45 stretch of the second quarter to establish their biggest lead of the first half at 51-38. Boston led 58-46 at the break on 59.5 percent shooting.
Rondo continued to take advantage of Robinson in the third quarter, scoring 10 points as the Celtics maintained their shooting touch. Boston led 82-70 after three.
NOTES: Chicago played without starting point guard Kirk Hinrich, who sat out because of a strained right hip. Hinrich suffered the injury in Saturday's win over Minnesota and is considered day to day. Robinson started in his place. ...
Boston Coach Doc Rivers called the news that the rival Los Angeles Lakers had hired Mike D'Antoni as their new coach "very interesting" and added that "I hope they don't do too well."