BOSTON - Rajon Rondo scored 32 points, passed out 15 assists and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead the Boston Celtics past the NBA Eastern Conference-leading Chicago Bulls 95-91 on Sunday.
Rondo scored 16 points in the first half, pushing the Celtics to a 48-43 half-time lead, and Boston surged ahead 86-72 before an 11-3 Chicago run in the final minutes helped trim the final margin.
The Bulls were without reigning NBA Most Valuable Player Derrick Rose, who was sidelined for a second game in a row ahead of a Monday trip to see a Chicago back specialist after recent struggles with back spasms.
Kevin Garnett added 13 points and 12 rebounds for the Celtics, who improved to 15-12 but were still 3 1/2 games behind Philadelphia in the NBA's Atlantic division.
The Bulls fell to 23-7, still atop the Central division by 4 1/2 games over Indiana and the East by 1 1/2 games over Miami. But in the fight for the overall NBA lead, Chicago slid behind the Oklahoma City Thunder, who are 21-6.
Carlos Boozer and C.J. Watson each scored 22 points to lead Chicago, which also had 16 points and nine rebounds from Joakim Noah. Britain's Luol Deng went 3-of-12 from the field for 10 points for the Bulls. — AFP