NEW YORK – Rajon Rondo scored 19 points and contributed six rebounds and five assists as the Boston Celtics defeated the Brooklyn Nets 93-76 on Tuesday in an NBA Christmas Day matchup.
The Celtics made a successful start to a four-game road trip, pulling level with the Nets at 14-13 for the season. Both clubs now share second place in the Atlantic Division behind the New York Knicks.
Jared Sullinger scored 16 points for the Celtics while Jeff Green added 15 points and Kevin Garnett had eight points and 10 rebounds for Boston, which lost twice to Brooklyn earlier this season.
“We played firm. That’s what we have got to be,” Garnett said. “We’ve got to be more consistent with what we are doing.”
After the Nets battled back within eight points, the Celtics scored the last seven points of the third quarter to seize a 73-68 lead. Rondo had nine of Boston’s 17 points in the third quarter to spark the visitors.
Brook Lopez and Gerald Wallace each scored 15 points to lead Brooklyn while Joe Johnson added 12 in a losing cause.
The Nets, who lost for the fourth time in five games and fell to 9-7 at home this season, were without power forward Kris Humphries, who is suffering from an abdominal strain. He is averaging 7.1 points and 7.4 rebounds a game.