NBA Roundup: Surging Celtics win again
TORONTO ó With Rajon Rondo running at full speed, the Boston Celtics’ offense has found a new gear.
Ray Allen scored 21 points and Boston led from the start in winning its fifth straight game, 118-103 over the Toronto Raptors on Sunday.
Rondo, Kevin Garnett and Tony Allen each scored 15 points for the Celtics, who have won 11 of 12 since a Nov. 1 loss to Indiana.
“Our offense carried us tonight and we executed on all cylinders,” Rondo said.
Kendrick Perkins had 12 points and Paul Pierce and Eddie House each had 11 in helping Boston score a season high. Its previous best was 110 points in a Nov. 18 victory over New York.
Coach Doc Rivers credited Rondo for relentlessly pushing the ball.
“I thought his speed was the factor of the game,” Rivers said. “It set the tables for everyone else to get in. He’s done that three or four games in a row and we’re winning by big margins and I really believe that’s the reason.”
Rondo was reluctant to run at first, so Rivers had to press the message home.
“I told him that his speed, every night, has to be the factor of the game,” Rivers said. “That makes people have to play him. Early in the year, everyone was playing off of him because we were walking the ball up the floor and not doing anything. Now, with his speed, you’ve got to stay with him.”
Now in his third season, Rondo said he’s more confident with the high pace than he was last season.
“I think I’m 10 times better,” Rondo said. “I’ve been working, trying to continue to learn the game. It’s just part of growing as a young player, knowing when and when not to attack.”
Continued reinforcement from Rivers has taught Rondo one thing.
“When guys are backpedalling, it’s tough to defend a guy that’s coming full speed at you,” Rondo said.
Maintaining the balance between scorer and distributor remains a challenge, but, as long as the wins keep coming, the Celtics are happy to have Rondo keep running.
“This is a textbook game for Rondo to see exactly how he should attack every night, regardless of who we’re playing,” Allen said.
Chris Bosh led Toronto with 24 points, while Jose Calderon had 14 points and nine assists. Andrea Bargnani and Anthony Parker had 14 apiece for the Raptors, who are 2-4 at home.
T’wolves 106, Pistons 80
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. ó Randy Foye had 23 points and a career-high 14 assists, and Minnesota beat Detroit for its first road victory of the season.
Minnesota came into the game with a 2-9 record, including 0-5 on the road, but dominated the lethargic Pistons, who have lost three of four. Detroit fell to 4-5 since Allen Iverson joined the team on Nov. 7.
76ers 89, Warriors 81
PHILADELPHIA ó Elton Brand had 23 points and 12 rebounds, Andre Iguodala added 15 points and Philadelphia moved above .500 for the first time this season by beating Golden State.
The high-flying Warriors were held well below the NBA-leading 105.4 points they were averaging before the game.