Celts cruise without Rondo, top Blazers 96-78
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(AP) -- Jeff Green scored 19 points, Jason Terry added 17 and the Boston Celtics cruised to a comfortable win without Rajon Rondo, topping the Portland Trail Blazers 96-78 on Friday night.
Rondo served the first game of his two-game suspension for his role in a scuffle Wednesday night against the Brooklyn Nets. Courtney Lee started in his place and finished with 10 points, seven rebounds and five assists.
The Celtics never trailed. They carried a 56-33 advantage into the break and took their biggest lead on a 22-foot 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.
Aldridge provided more than half of the Trail Blazers' points in the first half, scoring 17 while collecting five of their seven field goals. Hickson and Damian Lillard scored the others.
They cut the lead to 58-38 before the Celtics scored the next seven on two free throws by Lee, a 3-pointer by Terry and Garnett's jumper.
Boston led 75-59 heading into the fourth quarter and was never threatened in the final period.
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Rondo leads the NBA with 12.9 assists per game but was suspended after shoving Kris Humphries in Wednesday night's 95-83 loss to the Nets. He'll also miss Saturday night's game at the Milwaukee Bucks.
Without him, the Celtics scored seven of the first eight points and led 25-18 after one quarter, making 57.1 percent of their shots to 31.3 percent for the Trail Blazers.
It got worse for Portland in the second quarter when Boston scored the first nine points, the first two on free throws by Leandro Barbosa and the last seven by fellow reserve Green.
The loss came two days after the Trail Blazers became the first team to fall to Washington, which had lost its first 12 games. The Wizards won 84-82.
NOTES: The Trail Blazers had just 12 assists. ... Boston's reserves outscored Portland's 41-22. ... Kris Joseph, recalled from Maine of the NBA Development League, played four minutes, 55 seconds and scored two points for Boston. ... Portland has three more games left in a season-high, seven-game road trip: Cleveland, Charlotte and Indiana.
Press; By HOWARD ULMAN]
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