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                === Rondo returns, Celtics beat Timberwolves ===
 Boston,  MA (Sports  Network) -  Rajon  Rondo put  home 17  points on  6-of-11
 shooting  and handed out 11 assists in his return to the court on Wednesday as
 the Boston Celtics topped the Minnesota Timberwolves, 104-94, at TD Garden.
 Rondo  was handed a two-game suspension by the league for his involvement in a
 brawl with the Brooklyn Nets on Nov. 28. He shoved Nets forward Kris Humphries
 after what he believed was a hard foul on teammate Kevin Garnett.
 Garnett  finished  with 18 points  and 10 boards,  while Paul Pierce netted 18
 points for the Celtics, who bounced back from a loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on
 Jason Terry contributed 17 points and Brandon Bass donated 12 points and eight
 boards in the victory.
 "I  thought Kevin was terrific," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. "You could see
 that he was looking to score tonight. He gave us a great low post presence."
 Kevin  Love netted a game-high 19 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, while Nikola
 Pekovic added 14 and nine rebounds for the Timberwolves, who were coming off a
 dominating performance at Philadelphia on Tuesday.
 With  the T'Wolves up by four to start the third quarter, Luke Ridnour swished
 home  an 18-footer on  the first Minnesota possession of the half to make it a
 53-47 game, but the home side went ahead for good following that bucket, using
 a 20-8 surge to take a 67-61 lead with 5:19 to play in the session.
 Bass netted eight points during the run, and Terry put an exclamation point on
 it with a 3-pointer from the top of the arc.
 A  putback off an offensive board by Love cut the T'Wolves deficit to two, but
 the Celtics led by seven after three quarters.
 J.J.  Barea  netted a jumper  to start the fourth  for Minnesota which cut the
 deficit  to five, but a free throw by Jared Sullinger pushed the Celtics' lead
 to double digits and the visitors never regained their footing.
 The  game  remained close  early on  as a deep  3-ball by  Josh Howard put the
 T'Wolves  on  top 14-10, but the  Celtics answered with  an 11-1 run to take a
 21-15 lead with 4:30 on the clock.
 Minnesota,  though, closed the  quarter on a 15-6 run to lead 30-27 heading to
 the second 12 minutes.
 Terry nailed a pull-up jumper early in the second quarter which gave the C's a
 39-32  lead,  but the  Timberwolves  quickly  erased  the deficit  with  seven
 straight points.
 It  was a one-possession game for the rest of the half until Howard finished a
 run  out slam with  23.9 seconds to play, giving the T'Wolves a 51-47 halftime
 "They  were  very physical.  They were  into us  all night long," Timberwolves
 coach  Rick Adelman said.  " We're going to have to learn that that's how it's
 going  to  be. I thought we  were playing very  well, but then the second half
 they took control."
                                   Game Notes
 Boston  has won  the last 11 matchups  between the teams and seven straight as
 the  hosts ... It  was Love's seventh double-double of the season ... The game
 featured  nine  lead changes and  nine ties ...  Boston shot an efficient 52.6
 percent  from the  floor, while  holding the  T'Wolves to  44 percent  ... The
 Celtics  shot  just 18-of-26 from the  free throw line, but Minnesota was just
 14-of-30 from the charity stripe.
 12/06 00:18:12 ET

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