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Rondo leads Celtics past Nets
Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo (9) greets former teammate Paul Pierce of the Brooklyn Nets before their game at TD Garden. (Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports)
Jeff Green scored 15 points, Jerryd Bayless added 14 and Kelly Olynyk finished with 13 for the Celtics, who snapped a two-game losing streak. Jared Sullinger grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds for Boston, which controlled the boards 51-28.
Joe Johnson's 21 points and seven rebounds were a highlight for the Nets, who saw a four-game winning streak go by the wayside, falling back to .500 after eclipsing the mark for the first time this season last time out. Deron Williams notched 20 points for Brooklyn, which shot just 36.3 percent.
Boston pulled ahead by as many as 18 in the third quarter before Brooklyn used a 22-6 run to pull to within 70-68 with 2:02 remaining in the period but the Celtics closed the stanza on an 8-2 run for a 78-70 lead entering the final 12 minutes. Andray Blatche split a pair of free throws in the opening minute of the fourth quarter to pull the Nets within seven but Brooklyn would never get closer and a 3-pointer from Bayless with 2:24 remaining sealed the deal for Boston.
The Celtics led 26-20 after the opening frame, with Rondo accounting for 13 points on 5-of-6 shooting, while Pierce notched eight points to lead the way in the early going for the Nets. In the second quarter, Boston was able to extend its lead, thanks in large part to 11 points from Olynyk, to hit the break up 53-41.
GAME NOTEBOOK: Boston snapped a three-game losing streak in the head-to-head series against Brooklyn and won for just the second time in seven tries since the Nets moved from New Jersey. ... Nets F Kevin Garnett (back) missed his fourth straight game. .... The Celtics won despite committing 28 turnovers, partially neutralizing their giveaways by dishing out 20 assists.