Rajon Rondo's return to the Boston Celtics lineup couldn't have gone any better, as the dynamic point guard dished a season high 20 assists to lead the home team to a 107-89 victory over the Toronto Raptors on Saturday afternoon at TD Garden in Boston.
Boston jumped out to a 13-point lead after the first quarter, but the Raptors mounted a comeback in the second quarter, cutting the Celtics lead to five at the half, 47-42.
Toronto kept it close through much of the third quarter as well, until Boston went on an 11-2 run at the end of the stanza to give the Celtics a 79-64 lead that they wouldn't surrender.
The Raptors simply couldn't overcome the hot shooting of the Celtics, who finished the day shooting 57 percent from the field, while the Raptors shot 43 percent.
Jason Terry led the Celtics with 20 points on 7-of-10 shooting from the field (and 4-of-7 from behind the arc), one of four Celtics to finish the day in double-digits. Paul Pierce (6-of-15) chipped in 19 points, while Kevin Garnett (6-of-7) had 15 on the day.
Jared Sullinger, the former Ohio State Buckeyes standout and the first of Boston's two first-round draft picks in the 2012 NBA draft, put together the first double-double of his career, finishing the day with 12 points and 11 rebounds.
Six Raptors finished the day with double-digit scoring, led by Andrea Bargnani and John Lucas, who each finished with 15 points.
For the complete box score, check NBA.com.
Boston improved to 6-4 on the season while Toronto fell to 2-7.
Player of the Game: Rajon Rondo, PG, Boston Celtics
Rondo, who was day-to-day with an ankle injury and missed the Celtics' previous game against the Brooklyn Nets, came back with a fury, dishing 20 assists to go along with six points on 3-of-4 shooting.
As noted by ESPN Stats & Info, this was Rondo's sixth career game with at least 20 dimes, and his impact on this game—and the Celtics offense—cannot be overstated:
Rajon Rondo with his 6th career 20-assist game today vs Raptors. He's scored or assisted on 23 of Boston's 37 FG w/ 6 mins left.—ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) November 17, 2012
Rondo continues to prove that he is the best point guard in the NBA and the engine that drives the Celtics offense.
Up Next For Raptors
Toronto, who has dropped five of their last six games, heads home for a game against the Orlando Magic (3-5) on Sunday before heading back out on the road for a three-game trip that takes them to Philadelphia (5-4) on Tuesday, Charlotte (4-3) on Wednesday and Detroit (1-9) on Friday.
Up Next For Celtics
Boston gets on a plane for a game against the Detroit Pistons (1-9) on Sunday before returning home for a tough two-game homestand against the San Antonio Spurs (7-2) on Wednesday and the Oklahoma City Thunder (7-3) on Friday.