NBA News Wire

Celtics 96, Magic 89

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BOSTON — Rajon Rondo played his best game since returning from knee surgery — and it resulted in his first victory of the season.

The talented point guard, who had been on the losing end in his first six games back, combined with forward Jared Sullinger to lead the Boston Celtics to a 96-89 victory over the Orlando Magic in a not-so-super matchup on Super Sunday.

Both teams are “battling” for lottery position — the Celtics improving to 16-33, including 3-1 against the Magic, and Orlando falling to 13-36.

Rondo, just 17-of-61 from the floor in his first six games, went 9-of-11 on Sunday, scoring 19 points and adding 10 assists, six rebounds and three steals in 27 minutes. His time was cut short by second-half foul trouble, but he took over down the stretch.

Sullinger scored 21 points and grabbed 12 rebounds, forward Brandon Bass had 19 points and nine boards and guard Avery Bradley, back after missing five games with an ankle sprain, had 17 points.

Guard Arron Affalo led the Magic with 18 points, while center Nick Vucevic had 14 points and 11 rebounds.

The Celtics, who have six straight home wins over the Magic, ended a four-game losing streak and won for the fourth time in their last 23 games. Orlando has lost 16 of its last 19.

Rondo set up the first two baskets of the game and the Celtics got off to a quick 8-2 lead, but the Magic used a 7-0 run for their first lead of the game, at 12-10. The Celtics finished the quarter on a 10-4 run and led by eight after one.

The lead grew to 12 in the second quarter and the home team led by nine at the half.

Rondo had two fouls in the first half and picked up two quick ones in the third quarter, both of which were questionable. He went out with the Celtics up by nine, and the Magic had it down to three with Rondo on the bench. The Celtics ran off six straight points and wound up leading by seven after three quarters.

NOTES: Magic G Jameer Nelson didn’t make the trip because of a knee injury. … Celtics F Gerald Wallace, who was in Atlanta due to a death in the family, made it back in time, but did not play. … This was the Magic’s fourth Super Bowl Sunday game in Boston. The NFC team won the other three. … The Celtics allowed the 10-day contract of G Vander Blue to expire. He was with the team because of the injuries to G Avery Bradley and G Jerryd Bayless. Both are back, Bradley returning Sunday after missing five games with an ankle sprain. … The Magic visit the Indiana Pacers Monday night, while the Celtics are at Philadelphia Wednesday. … Celtics C Vitor Faverani was back with the team after playing two games in the D-League. He did not play Sunday. … Sunday marked the first game for each team using basketballs with new commissioner Adam Silver’s signature on them.