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It wasn’t always easy, but the Celtics took a lead early and never relinquished it en route to a 101-96 victory over the Bulls on Monday in Chicago.
Rajon Rondo led his team out of the gates early with his play on both ends of the court and finished with a team-high in every statistical category besides blocks with 20 points, 10 assists, 9 rebounds and 5 steals.
The Celtics led by 12 at the half and at the start of the fourth quarter, and shot 64 percent through three quarters. In the fourth quarter the Bulls turned up the defense and held the Celtics scoreless for five straight minutes before cutting their deficit to just a bucket with under a minute to play.
Garnett responded to the Bulls run with an emphatic alley-oop dunk on an assist from Rondo that essentially iced the game.
All the Celtics starters scored in double figures led by Rondo, and 16 points on an efficient 5-of-6 shooting night from Brandon Bass. Garnett had 15 points, Jason Terry added 13, and Paul Pierce recorded 10 points to go with 5 assists and 6 rebounds.
The Celtics’ bench also contributed valuable minutes, outscoring the Bulls bench 27-14. One of the ways the Celtics controlled this game was by limiting their turnovers to just 8 on the night. The Celtics also didn’t let any free points go to waste, connecting on all 16 of their free throw attempts.
The Celtics entered the game having lost 5 games in a row in Chicago. Not only were the Bulls playing without Derrick Rose on Monday night, they were also without key guard Kirk Hinrich. As a result, all of the Bulls minutes at point guard went to Nate Robinson and rookie Marquis Teague.
The Celtics come home Wednesday evening to host the Utah Jazz before zipping down to Brooklyn to play a key division game with the Nets in their new arena on Thursday.