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Sunday, Dec. 2, 2012

Celtics thump Blazers as Rondo serves ban


BOSTON — Two young fans held up a sign that said, "We Miss RONDO."

News photo
Looking for an angle: Boston's Jason Terry goes up for a shot against Portland's Meyers Leonard in the first quarter on Friday night. The Celtics won 96-78. AP

The Celtics looked just fine without him.

While star point guard Rajon Rondo began a two-game suspension, Boston got 19 points from Jeff Green and 17 from Jason Terry while cruising to a 96-78 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday night.

Rondo's "our leader, so it's tough when he's not here," Green said. "So everybody as a group has to pull together as a team and try and take his place."

Rondo was suspended for his role in a scuffle during a 95-83 loss to the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday night. Afterward, Celtics coach Doc Rivers called his team "soft."

That motivated Courtney Lee, who started in Rondo's place and finished with 10 points, seven rebounds, five assists and three steals.

"Nobody wants to be called soft," Lee said. "I took that personal because I know that I'm far from being soft and I think our team took it personal, too."

The Celtics never trailed. They carried a 56-33 advantage into the break and took their biggest lead on a long jumper by Kevin Garnett that made it 65-38 with 8:26 left in the third quarter.

The Trail Blazers lost their fourth straight game and had just three scorers in double figures — LaMarcus Aldridge with 23 points and J.J. Hickson and Meyers Leonard with 11 each.

"When we come out and set the tone defensively, like we did tonight, that's the type of team we are," said Paul Pierce, who had 12 points, eight rebounds and five assists. "That's the Celtics that I know."

Lakers 122, Nuggets 103

In Los Angeles, Antawn Jamison scored 33 points while leading an outstanding game by the Lakers' reserves, and Dwight Howard had 28 points and 20 rebounds before hitting Los Angeles' 17th 3-pointer in the final seconds of a victory over Denver.

Jodie Meeks scored 21 points on seven 3-pointers for the Lakers, who improved to 3-3 under Mike D'Antoni while playing splendidly at the furious tempo favored by their new coach.

Los Angeles tied the club record for 3-pointers in a regulation game, getting five from Jamison in the first 30-point game by a Lakers reserve since 1998.

Thunder 106, Jazz 94

In Oklahoma City, Kevin Durant scored 25 points, Russell Westbrook made a two-pronged bid for his sixth career triple-double and the Thunder finished off an impressive homestand by beating Utah.

Westbrook ended up with 23 points, 13 rebounds, eight assists and seven steals.

Cavaliers 113, Hawks 111

In Atlanta, Alonzo Gee scored on a putback with less than 1 second remaining, and Cleveland snapped a four-game losing streak.

Nets 98, Magic 86

In Orlando, Joe Johnson had 22 points and Brooklyn earned its fifth straight victory.

Knicks 108, Wizards 87

In New York, Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith each scored 20 points, and the Knicks beat Washington for the 10th straight time.

76ers 104, Bobcats 98

In Charlotte, Evan Turner scored 25 points, Jason Richardson hit four 3-pointers down the stretch and Philadelphia earned its third consecutive victory.

Grizzlies 90, Pistons 78

In Memphis, Rudy Gay had 18 points, Marc Gasol and Mike Conley added 17 apiece, and the Grizzlies stretched their winning streak to four games.

Timberwolves 95, Bucks 85

In Minneapolis, Alexey Shved scored 10 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter and Kevin Love overcame a nasty stomach bug to collect 15 points and 14 rebounds in the Timberwolves' victory.

Raptors 101, Suns 97

In Toronto, DeMar DeRozan scored 23 points to help the Raptors stop a six-game slide.

Pacers 97, Kings 92

In Sacramento, David West had 31 points and 11 rebounds to help Indiana edge the Kings.

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