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02/02/2014 5:07 PM EST
Rondo scores 19 for Boston in 96-89 win over Magic
BOSTON 96, ORLANDO 89

By DOUG ALDEN
Associated Press

BOSTON (AP) -- Rajon Rondo waited more than a year to celebrate
playing in a victory.

Rondo made 9 of 11 shots and finished with season highs of 19
points and 10 assists while helping Boston end a four-game
losing streak with a 96-89 victory over the Orlando Magic on
Sunday.

"We didn't stop pushing the pace even though we had the lead,"
Rondo said. "We finally finished a game strong. They made a run
at it, but at the end of the day we still got some stops when we
needed and made the plays."

Boston entered Sunday winless in six games since Rondo's return
last month after missing nearly a year with a torn anterior
cruciate ligament in his right knee. He sat out the second of
back-to-back games earlier in the week and was fresh enough at
the end Sunday to help the Celtics hold off a late push by the
Magic.

"You just feel like you're really under control the way he was
playing late," Boston coach Brad Stevens said.

Jared Sullinger scored seven of his 21 points in the fourth
quarter for the Celtics, who let a 12-point lead slip to one in
the final period before pulling away at the end.

"I think we execute a little crisper," Stevens said. "The ball
seems to have found the right guys a lot, especially today. I
think that's more of guys getting used to playing with one
another."

Brandon Bass had 19 points and nine rebounds and Avery Bradley
scored 17 in his return after missing five games with a sprained
ankle.

Jeff Green was the only Boston starter not to score in double
figures as the Celtics won for the third time in four games
against the Magic, who have lost four of five overall and 11
straight on the road.

Arron Afflalo had 18 points and Nikola Vucevic finished with 14
points and 11 rebounds for the Magic. Glen Davis had 15 points,
Tobias Harris scored 13 and Victor Oladipo had 12 points as all
five Orlando starters scored in double figures.

But the Magic couldn't stop Rondo, who had six assists in the
fourth quarter.

"We stuck to our principles and what we wanted to do. He just
came through for his team," Davis said.

The only game on the NBA schedule Sunday featured two of the
league's bottom teams.

Orlando, which has just three road wins this season, rallied
after making a push in the fourth quarter. The Magic went
without a field goal in the fourth quarter until Maurice
Harkless' layup cut Boston's lead to 75-68 with 9:01 left to
play. E'Twaun Moore and Davis added layups during an 10-2 run
that pulled the Magic within 77-76 on a pair of free throws by
Kyle O'Quinn with 6:11 left to play.

It was as close as Orlando would get. Rondo answered with hook
shot for the Celtics and Bradley followed with a field goal and
two foul shots as Boston started to pull away. The Celtics
sealed it with an 8-2 run in the final two minutes.

"We just wanted to come in and try to change the tempo of the
game and just play fast," Harkless said. "Unfortunately, we
didn't close the game out."

Notes: Rondo was 5 for 6 in the first half while scoring 13. ...
The Celtics scored 27 in each of the first two periods and led
54-45 at halftime. ... Boston G Avery Bradley returned after
missing five games with a sprained right ankle. ... Orlando G
Jameer Nelson did not travel with the Magic because of a sore
left knee. ... Boston was 0-6 in games with Rondo in the lineup
since returning from a torn ACL. ... Orlando last won on the
road Dec. 16, beating Chicago 83-82. ... The Magic's 3-22 road
record is the worst in the NBA.

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