BOSTON (Sporting Alert) — Rajon Rondo scored 13 points, 12 assists and seven rebounds in an all-round performance in leading the Boston Celtics to a 121-105 win over the Brooklyn Nets in their season opener Wednesday night.
The point guard was delighted to be back on the court playing ball again, but admits that he still has some work to do to get back to his best.
“I wasn’t as explosive as I was in the past,” he said. “At certain points, I felt like I was skipping a beat.
“Other than that, it was fun being back out there. It was great to be back out there playing basketball again.”
Rondo, who had been on the sidelines with a broken hand, got good support from Kelly Olynyk, who finished with 19 points on 8 of 14 shooting and six rebounds, while Jeff Green added 17 points and six boards and Avery Bradley scored 15 points in the victory.
Mirza Teletovic scored a game-high 20 points to go along with six rebounds in just 23 minutes off the bench to lead the Brooklyn Nets.
Joe Johnson and Deron Williams each added 19 points, with the latter also dishing out eight assists for Brooklyn, which also got 11 points off the bench from Jarrett Jack and 10 points and six boards from veteran center and former Celtic hero Kevin Garnett.
Jared Sullinger had 13 points for Boston, and Evan Turner added 10 points, seven rebounds and five assists in the victory for the Celtics, who shot 56 percent from the field.
Marcus Smart and Marcus Thornton each scored 10 points for Boston, which led 101-72 at the end of the third quarter before being outscored 33-20 in the fourth quarter.
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At the Madison Square Garden in New York, Taj Gibson finished with 22 points and eight and new recruit Pau Gasol grabbed a double-double of 21 points and 11 rebounds and the Chicago Bulls rout New York Knicks 104-80 in an early Eastern Conference clash.
Derrick Rose scored 13 points on his return to league action after injuries hammered his last two seasons, while Aaron Brooks had 13 points and six rebounds, with rookie Doug McDermott and Kirk Hinrich each scoring 12 points in the win for the Bulls, which shot 51 percent from the floor.
“When things run smooth like the way they were running tonight, I think everyone got a look at our whole entire team and they saw how deep we are,” Rose told reporters after the game.
Carmelo Anthony had 14 points for the Knicks and Amar’e Stoudemire collected 12 points and eight boards in the defeat.
“We’re going somewhere, but at the beginning of where we’re going it’s going to be difficult to get wins,” New York head coach Derek Fisher said. “We have to fight really, really hard to win games.”
MIAMI HEAT MOVES ON
Meanwhile, at the AmericanAirlines Arena in Florida, the Miami Heat started the post-LeBron James era with a 107-95 win over the Washington Wizards.
Chris Bosh grabbed 26 points and 15 rebounds and Norris Cole, promoted to the starting point-guard slot over Mario Chalmers, finished with a career-high 23 points to lead the Heat.
“I’m just happy to be playing basketball again in front of this great crowd and this great city,” said Bosh “We have so much going for ourselves right now.
“I like to win. It doesn’t matter how we do it. We can get better.”
Dwyane Wade ended with 21 points and new recruit Luol Deng supported with 12 points in the victory for Miami.
Marcin Gortat poured in 18 points and pulled down seven rebounds for the Wizards, which also got 18 points from Drew Gooden.
Paul Pierce contributed 17 points, six rebounds and five assists and John Wall played his part with 16 points and 11 assists in the defeat for Washington, who visits the Orlando Magic on Thursday.
In other results on Wednesday night, the Paul George-less Indiana Pacers picked up a 103-91 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers, with Roy Hibbert leading the way with 22 points, eight rebounds and seven blocks in the win.
Over at Moda Center in Portland, the Trail Blazers turned on the burners in the final quarter on their way to beating the Oklahoma City Thunder 106-89.
Reigning MVP Kevin Durant, who is sidelined with a broken foot, did not feature for the Thunder, while guard Reggie Jackson misses out because of a sprained right ankle.
LaMarcus Aldridge scored 27 points and Wesley Matthews added 22 for Portland, which initially trailed 54-49 at half-time and 77-75 at the end of the third quarter before a dominant last quarter.
Russell Westbrook finished with 38 points on 11 of 26 shooting to lead Oklahoma City, who also got 14 points from Lance Thomas and 10 points and 8 rebounds from Serge Ibaka.
Robin Lopez grabbed a double-double of 11 points and 10 rebounds for Portland.
Elsewhere, Kobe Bryant scored a game-high 31 points but could stop the Los Angeles Lakers from suffering back-to-back defeats to start the new season, after going down 119-99 to the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center.
Isaiah Thomas paced Phoenix with 23 points off the bench and Marcus Morris supported with 21, include tying his career high with five 3-pointers in the victory for the Suns, who also got 18 points from Goran Dragic and 16 points, nine assists and six rebounds from Eric Bledsoe, who was ejected for a second technical foul during the third quarter.
The LA Lakers dropped their season opener on Tuesday night against the Houston Rockets at STAPLES Center.
Wednesday, October 29- RESULTS
Charlotte 108, Milwaukee 106 (OT)
Indiana 103, Philadelphia 91
Boston 121, Brooklyn 105
Miami 107, Washington 95
Toronto 109, Atlanta 102
Memphis 105, Minnesota 101
Chicago 104, New York 80
Denver 89, Detroit 79
Houston 104, Utah 93
Phoenix 119, LA Lakers 99
Golden State 95, Sacramento 77
Portland 106, Oklahoma City 89