Boston 96 Toronto 73
BOSTON — Rajon Rondo scored 13 of his 21 points in the first quarter and the Boston Celtics ended a five-game losing streak with a 96-73 win over the reeling Toronto Raptors on Wednesday night.
Rondo was knocked out of the game with a sore right wrist after being levelled on a flagrant foul by Linas Kleiza late in the third quarter, but the Celtics were just fine without him.
Boston led by at least 20 for much of the final period while extending the Raptors’ losing streak to six and holding Toronto to a season-low point total.
Kevin Garnett added 15 points, Paul Pierce had seven assists and reserves Mickael Pietrus and Brandon Bass also made big contributions for the Celtics, who hadn’t won since beating New Jersey 89-70 on Jan. 4. Pietrus made four three-pointers and finished with 12 points and Bass had 13 points and a team-high nine rebounds.
Gary Forbes scored 18 points and DeMar DeRozan had 11 for the Raptors, who couldn’t overcome a slow start in the third period after keeping the Celtics close in the first half.
Boston pulled away during the third, then got a scare when Rondo was driving for a layup with 2:12 left in the period and was hit hard by Kleiza, who came down with his left arm and knocked Rondo to the floor. Rondo landed awkwardly on his back with his right hand and wrist getting crunched in between his body and the court.
Rondo remained in the game long enough to make one of his two foul shots, then walked slowly toward the locker-room. He did not return.
Kleiza was initially called for a flagrant 2 foul, but officials reduced it to a flagrant 1 after reviewing the play.
The game was pretty much decided before then.
After cutting a 15-point deficit to 44-38 at halftime, the Raptors struggled with their shots in the third, going without a field goal until Davis’ dunk 5:16 into the quarter.
The Raptors had just three free throws up to that point as Boston opened up a 53-41 lead despite some sloppy play of its own. The Celtics sharpened up midway through the period with a 13-2 run, getting six points from Bass and three-pointers by Pietrus and Ray Allen while opening up a 68-46 lead.
The Raptors didn’t seem to have much left after that, even with the Celtics going nearly five minutes into the fourth quarter without a field goal. Avery Bradley ended drought on a dunk with 7:09 remaining put Boston up 79-59.