Rondo has triple-double as Celtics beat Raptors

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TORONTO (AP)—Boston coach Doc Rivers asked point guard Rajon Rondo(notes) to give the Celtics an early burst of energy.

Rondo kept it up all game and finished with his first triple-double of the season.

He had 22 points, 13 assists and 10 rebounds while Rasheed Wallace(notes) scored a season-high 29 points and the Celtics beat Toronto 114-107 on Sunday for their seventh straight win over the Raptors.

“Doc put a big emphasis on it before the game to come out and get a good start,” said Rondo, who assisted on Boston’s first four baskets as the Celtics built a 10-0 lead in the opening 90 seconds. “Getting off to a good start was big for us. We didn’t finish the game extremely well but we got the job done.”

It was the third career triple-double for Rondo, who shot 9 for 17 and had four steals.

“He’s our energy beacon,” Rivers said. “Without him, I don’t know where we’re going to get it from.”

Wallace made five of Boston’s 11 3-pointers. Ray Allen(notes), Paul Pierce(notes) and Kendrick Perkins(notes) each scored 16 points for Boston, which had lost four of six coming in.

With Rondo sitting on 18 points, 11 assists and nine rebounds through three quarters, Boston’s reserves urged him to hit the glass in the fourth.

“Guys over on the bench were telling me to get a rebound,” Rondo said. “I wasn’t trying to. One time, Paul and I were going for it at the same time. He took it. I didn’t really care. I was just making sure the ball didn’t bounce out of bounds.”

Rondo got the board he needed with 7:08 to go, grabbing the rebound on a miss by Toronto’s Jose Calderon(notes).

“It’s nice to have (the triple-double) but the biggest thing is to get the win,” Rondo said. “I’d hate to get a triple-double where I had a big game and we lose.”

Rondo fed Wallace and Perkins for layups, then set up Allen and Pierce for 3-pointers in Boston’s early flurry, forcing Toronto to call a quick timeout.

“They hit shots as soon as the game started,” Raptors guard Jarrett Jack(notes) said. “It’s not as though we were just giving them layup after layup and it was like the Globetrotters. They hit from distance with the two 3’s.”

Toronto’s Chris Bosh(notes) fouled out with 31 points and 13 rebounds, with Andrea Bargnani(notes) adding 23 points.

Jack scored 15 points, Marco Belinelli(notes) had 14 and Calderon added 11 for the Raptors, whose six-game home winning streak was ended.

While the Celtics never trailed, Toronto made it tight in the final minutes. Jack’s layup and a 3-pointer from Bargnani cut it to 104-97 with 4:16 left but Wallace made two free throws and Rondo scored a layup to push Boston’s lead back to 11.

Hedo Turkoglu(notes) made a 3-pointer and, after Perkins missed two at the line, Jack made a driving hook shot. Boston turned it over on a shot clock violation and Bosh cut it to 108-104 on a jumper with 1:46 remaining. Perkins was fouled again but converted both attempts before Bargnani’s turnover on the next possession led to Pierce’s jumper, making it 112-104 with 46 seconds to go.

“We were kind of playing the clock and they almost got back in the game,” Rivers said.

Rondo had nine assists in the first half—as many as the entire Raptors team.

Wallace made three 3-pointers in the third and Rondo added nine points of his own as the Celtics made 12 of 18 field goal attempts and took a 93-80 lead into the fourth.

Notes: Boston G Tony Allen(notes) returned after missing Friday’s loss at Atlanta with flulike symptoms while F Kevin Garnett(notes) (hyperextended right knee) missed his fifth straight game. … Raptors head coach Jay Triano received a technical foul for arguing in the third. … Bosh went 13 for 13 at the free throw line. … Turkoglu had nine assists for but didn’t score his first basket until the third quarter. He finished with five points. … Toronto’s last home loss was a 111-89 defeat to Atlanta on Dec. 11. … Maple Leafs defenseman Mike Komisarek attended the game.

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Top Performers

 Top Performers
 Boston
R. Rondo Rajon Rondo
9-17,  22 Pts
10 Rebs, 13 Assists
 Toronto
C. Bosh Chris Bosh
9-17,  31 Pts
13 Rebs, 4 Assists

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Sunday, Jan 10