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The Boston Celtics won their eighth straight game at home and fifth overall Sunday, blowing out the Miami Heat, 91-72. Rajon Rondo shined on the national stage, picking up his NBA-leading fifth triple-double of the year with 16 points, 14 assists, and 11 rebounds.
Rondo helped hand the Heat their worst loss of the season. The Heat fell to just 3-7 on the road in their last 10 games. The Celtics improved to 19-8 at the TD Garden and 15-5 since the All-Star Break.
Playing their sixth straight game without Ray Allen, Rondo kick-started the Celtics early, going 3-for-3 for seven points and grabbing three rebounds in the first four minutes. He finished the first quarter with 10 points on 4-for-5 shooting. Rondo also dished out four assists in the first 12 minutes.
It was a different story for Miami, who started 2-for-10 from the field. The Heat shot just 38 percent overall Sunday, and they trailed by 10 heading into the second quarter.
The Celtics pushed their lead to 11 before Miami reeled off a 10-0 run, sparked by Dwyane Wade’s six points. He finished the half with 11. The Heat defense also stepped up, holding the Celtics to 2-for-8 shooting to start the second quarter.
Miami tied the game 40-40 with just over two minutes left in the half, but they couldn’t take the lead. Boston took a five-point lead into halftime, led by Paul Pierce’s 12 points. LeBron James matched Pierce’s 12 first-half points to lead the Heat.
Brandon Bass had 10 points at the break, hitting all eight free throw attempts. As a team, the Celtics went 16-for-17 from the line in the first half, compared to just 2-for-6 by the Heat.
Rondo continued his impressive performance in the second half, finishing with six points and eight assists in the third. Fueled by Rondo and tough defense, the lead reached as high as 24 in the quarter. Boston outscored Miami 31-12 in the quarter, holding the Heat to 5-for-19 shooting and putting the game out of reach.
Boston’s starting five all scored in double figures Friday. Pierce led with 23.
The Atlantic Division-leading Celtics’ next challenge will come Wednesday when they host the San Antonio Spurs – the hottest team in the NBA. The Spurs have won 10 of their last 11 games, including a league-leading seven in a row. Like Boston, San Antonio has been hot since the All-Star Break, posting a record of 12-4.