Garnett, Rondo Pace Celtics Over Bulls

BOSTON (Reuters) – and Rajon Rondo led all five Boston starters into double-digit scoring as the eased to a 104-92 victory over the on Friday.

The Atlantic Division-leading Celtics have won six consecutive games to improve to 15-4, while the Bulls have lost two in a row to slip to 9-8 for the season.

Garnett had 20 points and a season-high 17 rebounds and Rondo scored 12 points and had 19 assists. Fellow starters Paul Pierce scored 18 points, Ray Allen added 14 and scored 12.

Derrick Rose led the Bulls with 20 points, despite shooting just 7-for-17.

“I really liked the way Kevin (Garnett) asserted himself on both sides tonight,” Pierce said.

“He stepped up to the challenge, guarding (Joakim) Noah, guarding (Carlos) Boozer, knowing that’s the meat of their front line.

“He went out there trying to be better than everybody. That’s the vintage Kevin we know. He’s shown a lot of flashes of his old self this week.”

The Celtics opened the third quarter with a 17-6 run to stretch their 53-48 halftime lead to 16 points, led by Rondo, who scored eight points during the stretch.

Noah had a double-double for Chicago with 14 points and 11 rebounds, but lost his head-to-head battle with Garnett.

“It’s tough because we lost right now, but you know they’re a hell of a team and that’s what we’re striving to be, one of the best teams in the game,” said Noah, son of former tennis champion Yannick.

Boston started the game quickly and opened a 14-point first quarter lead but with the Celtics starters benched, the Bulls rallied in the second quarter to tie the game on three occasions.

“We have to do a better job containing the ball,” Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. “Our weak side has to be more alert. We have to have better body position on cuts. We have to defend with greater intensity.”

(Reporting by Mike Mouat in Windsor, Ontario; Editing by John O’Brien)

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