Garnett Carries Celtics to Win Over Raptors

BOSTON (Reuters) – powered the to a 110-101 victory over the on Friday to maintain their slim lead at the top of the NBA’s Eastern Conference.

Garnett had a season high 26 points and added 11 rebounds to give the Celtics their third straight win since dropping a game to the Raptors last week.

“Kevin’s energy tonight was off the charts,” Celtics head coach told reporters.

“You knew it would be if you know Kevin after the loss last Sunday. He was just athletic tonight. He’s been that way all year.”

The Celtics, who never trailed in the game, scored on their first seven possessions and opened a 19-5 lead. Toronto battled back to within a point during the second quarter but Boston pulled away again in the third.

All Star point guard Rajon Rondo, back in the lineup after missing three games with a hamstring injury, had four points and 14 assists as the Celtics (12-4) maintained a half-game lead over the in the Eastern Conference.

“Rondo really set the tone with the penetration and inside play,” said Celtics forward Paul Pierce, who scored 18 points.

“I liked the way we started the game, but we have to do a better job finishing the game.”

It was a first loss in five games for the Raptors (6-10), whose starters combined for just 38 points with the bench scoring an impressive 63 led by Linas Kleiza, who had a team high 18.

Making matters worse for Toronto was starting forward Reggie Evans breaking his right foot late in the third quarter.

(Reporting by Mike Mouat in Windsor, Ontario. Editing by Frank Pingue and Patrick Johnston)

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