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Rondo's strong game helps Boston down Orlando
Boston, MA (SportsNetwork.com) - Rajon Rondo had his best game since returning from an ACL tear and carried Boston down the stretch, helping the Celtics snap a four-game losing skid with a 96-89 win over the Orlando Magic on Sunday.
Rondo finished with 19 points, 10 assists and six rebounds in the triumph. He also scored or assisted on eight of Boston's last nine buckets and stripped Victor Oladipo with 17.1 seconds to play to help secure the outcome.
Jared Sullinger tallied 21 points and 12 rebounds and Brandon Bass scored 19 points as the Celtics took down Orlando for the 11th time in the last 12 meetings.
"Very comfortable. Rondo is a coach on the floor and he's leading us. It felt great," said Bass on the Celtics comfort level having Rondo back.
Arron Afflalo paced the Magic with 18 points, Glen Davis had 15 and Nikola Vucevic finished with 14 points and 11 boards. Orlando has lost 11 straight road tilts and fell to 3-22 away from home this season.
"Yeah we stuck to our principles and what we wanted to do he just came through for his team," said Davis about stopping Rondo. "Sometimes the nights are like that and as a team we just have to stick together and make sure that we can do something to help each other go out and do it."
Orlando's only lead came midway through the first quarter, when Tobias Harris capped a 7-0 spurt with a jumper, putting the visitors up 12-10.
The Celtics led 27-19 after the first quarter and 54-45 at halftime.
Boston survived every Magic rally the rest of the way, with Jerryd Bayless' jumper highlighting a 6-0 run after Oladipo cut it to 65-62 with a triple late in the third.
Orlando's deficit shrank to just a point with 6:11 left in the game after a pair of Kyle O'Quinn free throws, but once again the Celtics answered. Avery Bradley followed Rondo's running hook with a jumper to keep the lead safe.
Rondo rebounded a short Afflalo miss and outletted to an open Bradley, whose breakaway slam with 2.5 ticks to play put an exclamation mark on the victory.
"Like I said before the game, our offense also is predicated on multiple people starting so I think that alleviates a little bit, that just a point guard quote unquote doesn't have to start the offense," said Magic head coach Jacque Vaughn on the absence of Jameer Nelson.
The other two guards can start the offense as well, but whether its pick and roll, other things of that nature good experience for him to have the ball in his hands tonight."
Magic point guard Jameer Nelson missed the game with a sore left knee ... No player for either team had more than one 3-pointer ... Oladipo had 12 points but shot just 3-of-16. Harris scored 13 ... Bradley netted 17 for Boston ... The Celtics shot 50 percent from the floor and held Orlando to just 41.3 percent.
02/02 18:20:48 ET
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