CLEVELAND (Reuters) – Rajon Rondo continued his strong return to the court as the avenged an early-season defeat with an easy 106-87 victory over the on Tuesday.
In his second outing since a three-game absence due to a hamstring injury, Rondo had a season-high 23 points and 12 assists to lead the Celtics (13-4) to their fourth straight win.
Rondo entered the night on the heels of a 14-assist performance against the on Friday, and his latest effort allowed the Celtics to stay tied with the atop the Eastern Conference.
Perhaps underestimating Cleveland in its first season since franchise player departed for the , Boston were beaten by the Cavs in the opening week of the season.
This time the Celtics seized control with a 35-22 advantage in the second quarter and were never seriously threatened.
Boston got a boost off the bench from Glen Davis, who finished with 17 points and 11 rebounds, along with reserve Marquis Daniels, who chipped in 16 points.
“I thought the bench turned the game around,” Celtics coach told reporters. “I thought (Davis and Daniels) were the two guys that changed everything.”
Anderson Varejao led the way with 16 points and 12 rebounds for Cleveland, which shot just 39 percent from the field in losing for the second time in three games.
“We stopped doing the things that got us the lead. We started to let the ball stick,” said Cavaliers guard Daniel Gibson who had 16 points.
“Once you let the ball stick against that team, it gets really tough to score.”
The Cavaliers will now turn their attention to hosting the Heat on Thursday when they get their first visit from James since he made the controversial decision to leave.
(Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles. Editing by Alastair Himmer)