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Celtics 99, Kings 81

The SportsXchange

BOSTON -- On Sunday, the Celtics beat the Miami Heat in double overtime with the Boston players unaware they had lost teammate Rajon Rondo for the season to a knee injury.

Three days later, the players knew they were beginning the rest of the season without the NBA's assist leader.

So far, so good.

Having the luxury of playing Sacramento, Boston outscored the Kings 37-14 in the second quarter and cruised to a 99-81 victory Wednesday to get back within a game of the .500 mark.

With Rondo slated to have right knee surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in the coming weeks, the Celtics (22-23) will handle the ball by committee. They did so pretty well Wednesday.

Boston led by as many as 28 points. The Kings, getting some energy from their bench, cut the lead to 14 with 5:44 left but got no closer in losing for the fifth time in the past six games.

The two Cesltic wins came after a six-game losing streak.

Paul Pierce, doing much of the ball-handling, led six Celtics in double figures with 16 points. He also grabbed 10 rebounds and dished out four assists. Kevin Garnett had 13 points, nine rebounds and five assists.

Tyreke Evans led the Kings with 19 points and 11 rebounds. DeMarcus Cousins, who came in averaging 17.4 points and 10.2 rebounds per game, had 13 points and six boards.

Celtics rookie Jared Sullinger left the game with 7:52 left in the first quarter with back spasms and didn't return. Sullinger had back trouble while at Ohio State, which is seen as the reason he fell all the way to the 21st pick in the first round.

NOTES: Boston general manager Danny Ainge said he would watch and evaluate his team in the coming weeks before deciding to make a move to replace Rondo before the Feb. 21 trade deadline. ... Former Celtic Keyon Dooling, who retired after last season, said he'd consider getting into shape and make a return, but that's not going to happen. Another name that has been mentioned is two-time Celtic Delonte West. ... Sacramento swingman John Salmons, averaging 9.2 points per game, missed Wednesday's game with a case of stomach flu. ... Sullinger on not being picked for the All-Star Rising Stars Challenge: "I really don't care. That's pretty much it. I really don't care. It doesn't make me or break me." ... The Kings played the third game of a six-game road trip that continues at Philadelphia on Friday night. The Celtics continue a four-game homestand with a game against the Orlando Magic on Friday and then a Super Sunday matinee against the Los Angeles Clippers. ... Celtics coach Doc Rivers on Rondo: "I've had the injury. It's hard. There's days you want to be with the guys and days you don't." ... The Celtics recalled rookie center Fab Melo from the Development League, but just for treatment of a quad injury. ... This might have been the Kings' last visit before the team goes through with a potential move to Seattle. ... The Brooklyn Nets' Brook Lopez was selected to replace Rondo on the East All-Star squad.
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