CHICAGO (AP) — Rajon Rondo extended his own pursuit of a record and helped the Boston Celtics reverse some recent history.
Rondo had 20 points, nine rebounds and 10 assists to lead the Boston Celtics to a 101-95 win over the Chicago Bulls on Monday night. He stretched his streak of consecutive games with 10 or more assists to 31, the longest in the NBA since John Stockton had 37 straight from Feb. 27 to Nov. 29, 1989.
"We played pretty well offensively," Rondo said. "Besides the turnovers I had, we took pretty good care of the ball. We got out on the break, kept it simple offensively."
Rondo, who leads the NBA with an average of 12.9 assists per game, took advantage of Bulls point guard Nate Robinson by getting all of his scoring in the first three quarters to help the Celtics build a 12-point lead while shooting 56 percent.
"(Rondo) had an excellent game," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. "He is starting to get comfortable with the players that are out there on the floor and what he can call with them there."
Brandon Bass led four other Celtics in double figures with 16 points as Boston held off a furious late Chicago rally to snap a five-game losing streak at the United Center. Kevin Garnett had 15 points.
Luol Deng led the Bulls with 26 points and 11 rebounds. Joakim Noah added 17 points and 11 boards and led Chicago's fourth quarter rally with nine points.
The Celtics became the first team to score 100 points against the Bulls since April 8 of last season, ending a streak that had reached 15 straight games.
"They scored 58 points in the first half," Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. "You give up 33 (points in the first quarter) to a team like that, you're giving them confidence and they're hard to slow down after that."
The Bulls held Boston without a point for 5:15 of the fourth quarter, scoring 10 straight pull to 87-84. Chicago had five straight possessions to close the gap further but couldn't, and Jason Terry finally snapped the Celtics' drought with a jumper with just under 5 minutes to play.
"They did make a good run at us," said Paul Pierce, who was held to 10 points on 4-for-13 shooting. "We just have to run to the finish line in games. There were a few times when I thought we were up 12 to 14 and could have gone to 20 and didn't."
Rookie Marquis Teague replaced Robinson in the fourth and helped curb Rondo's scoring. Noah outplayed Garnett during the Chicago spree, aggressively driving to the basket while Garnett missed three straight jumpers on the other end, including an air ball that landed out of bounds.
In the final minute, Deng made two free throws to cut the lead to three, but after a timeout Rondo passed to Garnett for an alley-oop dunk with 41.9 seconds to play.