Rondo has triple-double, Celtics top BullsFeb 13, 2012 - 1:20 AM Boston, MA (Sports Network) - Rajon Rondo recorded his ninth career triple- double with 32 points, 15 assists and 10 rebounds, helping the Boston Celtics hold off the Chicago Bulls, 95-91.
Kevin Garnett added 13 points and 12 boards for the Celtics, who snapped a two-game skid. JaJuan Johnson had 12 points off the bench and Chris Wilcox and Ray Allen each donated 11 points.
C.J. Watson and Carlos Boozer had 22 points apiece for the Bulls, who played their second straight game without guard Derrick Rose (back). Joakim Noah tallied 16 points and nine rebounds.
Chicago had a five-game winning streak snapped but still managed to go 6-3 on its nine-game road trip.
Rose, who is scheduled to see a specialist, said he's not sure where his back problems came from. He complained that the Bulls didn't play with enough spark Sunday.
"Our energy wasn't there tonight," said Rose. "We didn't pick up our energy to the full court."
The Celtics led for the entire game and seemed to put the game away early in the fourth quarter. Holding a 77-71 margin with 8:25 to play, Boston went on a 9-1 run. Johnson and Wilcox capped the surge with back-to-back alley-oop slams to make it an 86-72 game with 5:08 remaining.
Chicago had one last run in them, though, responding with a 14-3 burst to make things interesting. Watson and Boozer combined to score the Bulls' first 13 points of the run, which Luol Deng capped with a free throw to make it 89-86 with 1:43 to go.
Paul Pierce swung the momentum back in Boston's favor. After coming off a nice screen by Garnett, Pierce drained a 15-foot jumper to give the home team a five-point lead.
Not much time came off the clock at the other end after Rondo got tangled up with Deng under the basket. Rondo was called for the foul away from the ball, leading to a pair of Deng free throws with 1:23 remaining.
The Bulls had a chance to tie the game or go in front after Pierce turned the ball over. Watson missed a contested layup to spoil the opportunity.
But Pierce committed another turnover on Boston's next trip down the court. Boozer recorded the steal and called timeout with 27.6 seconds to play.
This time around, Watson threw up a 23-foot fadeaway jumper that was also contested. Rondo grabbed the defensive rebound and went 4-of-4 from the foul line down the stretch to seal the win.
Pierce said the Celtics are a tough team to beat when Rondo plays the way he played Sunday -- "assertive, aggressive."
"When he's out in transition, pushing the ball, taking the shots right there, the mid-range, rebounding, he's just all energy," said Pierce. "He's one of those guys when he plays with a lot of energy, he's so tough because he can rebound the ball well, when he pushes off the break he's tough to stop in transition. He just did it all tonight. He was great to watch."
Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said the play that went to Watson was set up for him to take the shot if he's open.
"I want them to be aggressive with it," said Thibodeau. "Didn't work out."
The Celtics opened the game on an 18-7 run, but the Bulls responded with 10 straight points to keep it close early. Boston held a 28-23 edge after 12 minutes.
Chicago got as close as one early in the second frame, but Avery Bradley made consecutive jumpers for Boston. The visitors kept it close for the rest of the period and trailed 48-43 at the half.
The Celtics went 8-of-10 from the foul line in the third quarter and took a 72-66 lead into the final stanza.
Chicago had won three straight over Boston, including an 88-79 triumph in Beantown back on January 13...Pierce had nine points...Celtics forward Brandon Bass will miss at least 10 days of action due to a knee injury. Bass, who could miss up to two weeks, is averaging 11.6 points and 6.1 rebounds in 25 games (five starts) this season. Boston was also without center Jermaine O'Neal (shoulder) on Sunday, but got guard Keyon Dooling back. Dooling had been out since January 26 due to a hip injury.
- CHICAGO: 91
Feb 12 6:05 PM
- CHICAGO: 66
End of 3rd
Feb 12 5:21 PM
- CHICAGO: 43
Feb 12 4:34 PM
- CHICAGO: 23
End of 1st
Feb 12 4:00 PM
- CHICAGO: 0
1st Quarter - 12:00
Feb 12 3:32 PM
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