x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 16 January 2018

NBA: Rondo makes impressive comeback to fire Celtics to win over Toronto

Rajon Rondo proved he had recovered from an ankle injury after providing 20 assists as Boston ran out 107-89 winners over the Raptors.

Jared Sullinger looks for a way past the Toronto Raptors defence
Jared Sullinger looks for a way past the Toronto Raptors defence

Boston point guard Rajon Rondo returned from an ankle injury Saturday and handed out 20 assists as he piloted the Celtics to a 107-89 NBA victory over the Toronto Raptors.

Rondo, who missed Thursday's loss to the Brooklyn Nets with a sprained right ankle, had the Celtics' offence firing on all cylinders.

Jason Terry made four three-pointers en route to scoring 20 points and Paul Pierce added 19 points and six rebounds for the Celtics, who improved to 6-4.

"He's Peyton Manning out there," Boston's Courtney Lee said, likening Rondo to the master NFL quarterback now with the Denver Broncos.

"He's picking the defence apart and he's getting the ball to guys in the right position to score. He was actually mad about the 20 assists — he thought he could have got 30."

Kevin Garnett scored 15 points and Jared Sullinger recorded a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds for the Celtics.

Andrea Bargnani and John Lucas ended with 15 points apiece for the Raptors, who have now lost nine straight games in Boston.

The Celtics were on fire in the first quarter, connecting on 73.7 per cent of their shots from the floor to jump to a 30-17 lead.

They led by as many as 16 early in the second quarter, but Toronto put together a couple of good runs to trim the deficit to 47-42 at halftime.

"We were getting stops and it allowed us to run, get those easy buckets in transition," said Raptors head coach Dwane Casey. "And that's what it was that got us to run, and we had a rhythm going."

After a close third quarter, Boston bridged the third and fourth periods with a 19-2 scoring run and cruised home from there.

"We had a bad defensive stretch and they went up about 20 points and that was the game right there," Bargnani said.

Injuries and illness took their toll on the Miami Heat as they struggled to a 97-88 victory over the Phoenix Suns to end a six-game road trip.

Chris Bosh scored 24 points while an ill LeBron James, suffering flu-like symptoms, managed to chip in 21, but Dwyane Wade was missing for a second straight night.

The Heat saw a 15-point lead cut to two late on before they finished on a 7-0 run.

Blake Griffin and Jamal Crawford had big nights as the Los Angeles Clippers eased to a fifth straight win by topping the Chicago Bulls 101-80.

Griffin poured in 26 points and Crawford had 22 - 17 of them in the second quarter.

The Memphis Grizzlies made it eight wins in a row with a 94-87 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats behind 20 points from Mike Conley.

Zach Randolph had 18 points and 12 rebounds for Memphis, who have an NBA-best 8-1 record.

The San Antonio Spurs found their groove in a 126-100 victory over the Denver Nuggets as Manu Ginobili poured in 20 points.

OJ Mayo's 19 points helped the Dallas Mavericks to a 103-95 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers, while Al Jefferson's 21 led the Utah Jazz in an 83-76 win over the Washington Wizards.

Monta Ellis had 22 points as the Milwaukee Bucks edged out the New Orleans Hornets 117-113.


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