NEW YORK -- Rajon Rondo keyed a balanced attack with 19 points and rookie Jared Sullinger added 16 points and seven rebounds off the bench, leading the Boston Celtics to a relatively easy 93-76 victory over the Brooklyn Nets in a Christmas Day matinee at Barclays Center.
The victory was just the second in the last six games for the Celtics (14-13), who climbed above .500 again with the win.
The loss was the ninth in the last 12 for the Nets (13-13), who lost for the sixth time in their last eight home contests. After posting an 11-4 record in November, Brooklyn is 3-9 in December.
The Celtics took the lead for good, courtesy of a 17-2 run in the second quarter. The Nets cut the lead to eight in the third quarter but couldn't get any closer as Boston improved to 12-17 overall in Christmas Day games.
Besides Rondo and Sullinger, the Celtics received 15 points from Jeff Green, also off the bench. Paul Pierce scored only eight points but delivered a season-best 10 assists.
The Nets, playing on Christmas Day for the first time in a decade, received 15 points from Brook Lopez and Gerald Wallace and 12 from Joe Johnson.
The Nets crept somewhat back into the game in the third quarter, courtesy of a 15-2 run that brought Brooklyn to eight at 66-58 with 2:05 left. Johnson had two 3-pointers in the run, including a 28-footer off glass from beyond the top of the key.
But the Celtics answered the run with seven straight points, with Rondo capping the run with a 3-pointer, giving Boston a 73-58 lead entering the fourth quarter.
After taking a 14-point into the break, the Celtics outscored the Nets 8-1 in the first five minutes of the third quarter to push the lead to 64-43 on two free throws from Pierce with 7:13 remaining.
The Nets had the better of the play in the first quarter and led by as many as six in the period, with Brook Lopez scoring nine points. The Nets held a 24-22 lead after one period.
Then the Celtics steamrolled the Nets in the second quarter, outscoring the Nets at one point 17-2 in a 5:01 span. Jeff Green continued his remarkable recovery after open heart surgery, scoring six points in the second quarter, as the Celtics had their best offensive quarter of the season, scoring 34 points. Boston led 56-42 at the break.
Rondo and Sullinger led the Celtics with 10 points each at the half. Lopez scored 10 to pace the Nets.
NOTES: Incredibly, this was the Celtics' 29th appearance on Christmas Day, but the team has played at home only once. Part of that reason is that TD Garden is booked annually for family-related shows. Still, only once in 29 times? "It is strange, but it's also a bit of an honor that the NBA deems us worthy of a Christmas Day game," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. "Of course, everyone would much rather be home. But it is our job and people do work on Christmas." ... Rivers was also not pleased with the noon tipoff. "It's a bad starting time and a tough one on our players. Most of our players have family and kids with them on the road. It's tough." ... Rivers also believes that having five games on Christmas is a little too much. "I liked it better when there were two games and everyone in the country sat around watching those games." ... Nets F Kris Humphries, who was benched Sunday against Philadelphia, was inactive Tuesday because of a sore abdominal muscle. ... The Celtics were without G Avery Bradley, who had surgery on both shoulders in the offseason but began practicing this week. "He's just not ready," Rivers said. "Obviously, we need him, but he's only had two-and-a-half practices, so we decided it was best to leave him home." F-C Chris Wilcox (sprained knee, thumb) was also left at home. Both Bradley and Wilcox were slated to work out with the team's strength and conditioning coaches while the Celtics were away. ... It was the first time the Nets played on Christmas Day since 2002, when they defeated Boston in a 117-81 rout. ... The Nets played the New York Knicks on Christmas 1984 and won 120-114 when Knicks F Bernard King scored 60 points.