CHICAGO (AP)—Rajon 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.
Rondo took advantage of Bulls point guard Nate Robinson for three quarters, helping the Celtics build a 12-point lead on 56-percent shooting. He extended his streak of consecutive games with 10 or more assists to 31, the longest in the NBA since John Stockton had 37 straight between Feb. 27 to Nov. 29, 1989.
Brandon Bass led four other Celtics in double figures with 16 points as 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 boards 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 straight games.
The Bulls held Boston without a point for 5:15 of the fourth quarter, scoring 10 straight pull to 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.
Rookie Marquis Teague replaced Robinson in the fourth and helped curb Rondo’s scoring. Noah outplayed Garnett during the Chicago spree, 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 Rondo passed to Garnett for a dunk and Taj Gibson missed two free throws.
Rondo then 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.
Chicago had won seven of its last 10 games overall against Boston, but lost for the third in its last five outings at home. Chicago will now head on the road for a five-game trip.
The Celtics used a 10-0 run over a 3:45 stretch of the second quarter to establish its biggest lead of the first half at 51-38. Boston led 58-46 at the break, getting 59.5 percent shooting.
Rondo had 10 points, five rebounds and five assists in the first half.
Rondo continued to take advantage of Robinson in the third quarter, scoring 10 points in the period as the Celtics maintained their shooting touch. Boston led 82-70 after three and appeared to be in good shape. The Celtics entered the game having won their last 26 games when leading after three quarter, twice as long as any other such streak in the NBA.
Pierce and Rondo scored eight points apiece as the Celtics took a 33-27 lead after the first quarter. Boston shot 63.6 percent from the field and set a new season high for points in a quarter. Carlos Boozer scored 10 points on 5 of 6 shooting for Chicago.
Boozer finished with 15 points, but didn’t play in the fourth quarter.
NOTES: Chicago played without starting point guard Kirk Hinrich, who sat out with 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.” . In what has become an annual ritual, the Bulls will play their next five games on the road over the next two weeks while a circus occupies the United Center.
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