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Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2011

Rondo returns to lead Celtics past Raptors

TORONTO (AP) It was a lot easier for the Boston Celtics with Rajon Rondo back in the lineup.

News photo
To the rim: Mavericks guard Jason Terry attempts a shot in front of Cavs guard J.J. Hickson on Sunday in Cleveland. Dallas won 104-95. AP PHOTO

Paul Pierce scored 30 points, Ray Allen had 23 and the Celtics marked Rondo's return with a 93-79 victory over the Toronto Raptors on Sunday night.

"With him, because he knows everything we run, we were back into running stuff we'd basically put into hibernation while he was out," Boston coach Doc Rivers said. "You just see how comfortable Paul and Ray were."

The NBA's assists leader, Rondo returned after missing seven games with a sprained left ankle. He had four points and eight assists in 34 minutes.

"Obviously I want to be out there with the team, calling the sets," Rondo said. "I'm the most comfortable with it. I know the plays better than Doc."

Glen Davis added 15 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists as Boston won for the 10th time in 11 meetings with Toronto. It was Davis' third double-double of the season.

Davis said Rondo encouraged him to keep shooting after he made just one of seven shots in the first half. Davis made five of seven in the second half.

"No matter what I do out there, no matter if I mess up a play, no matter if I fumble the ball, no matter if I take a bad shot, he is always telling me to keep my head up," Davis said. "That means so much. No matter what you do he is still going to be right there behind you."

Hawks 107, Clippers 98

In Los Angeles, Joe Johnson scored 11 of his 29 points in the fourth quarter, Josh Smith added 22 and Atlanta rallied for the win.

Johnson, who returned to the lineup on Dec. 17 after missing nine games following right elbow surgery, was 7-for-20 from the field after going 18 of 51 over his previous three games. In Friday's loss at Oklahoma City, the four-time All-Star guard missed 14 of 20 attempts — including all six from 3-point range. Smith was 5-for-14 after missing his first eight shots.

Knicks 98, Pacers 92

In New York, Amare Stoudemire scored 26 points, including six of the Knicks' last seven points, and Danilo Gallinari had 19.

Danny Granger had 25 points and 17 rebounds, and Darren Collison had 22 points, six assists and five rebounds for the Pacers, who lost for the fourth time in their last five games.

Mavericks 104, Cavaliers 95

In Cleveland, Shawn Marion scored 22 points and DeShawn Stevenson added 21, helping Dallas end a three-game skid.

The Mavericks, playing without starting forwards Dirk Nowitzki and Caron Butler, used a balanced attack. Jason Terry scored 18 points, Tyson Chandler added 14 points and 14 rebounds, and Jason Kidd had 10 points and eight assists.

Grizzlies 104, Lakers 85

In Los Angeles, Rudy Gay scored 27 points, Zach Randolph added 21 points and eight rebounds, and Memphis pulled away in the second half.

O.J. Mayo scored 15 points for the Grizzlies, who bounced back from two losses to wrap up their three-game road trip with a stunningly easy blowout of the two-time defending champions.

Trail Blazers 100, Rockets 85

In Portland, LaMarcus Aldridge had 25 points and 11 rebounds, Nicolas Batum added a season-high 21 points and the Trail Blazers won their eighth straight at home.

Patrick Mills had a career-high 14 points, five assists and five steals for Portland. Wesley Matthews added 14 and Marcus Camby had 13 rebounds and season-high eight assists.

Kings 94, Suns 89

In Sacramento, DeMarcus Cousins scored 13 of his career-high 28 points in the fourth quarter and the Kings closed with a 19-2 run.

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