BOSTON (AP) — Rajon Rondo had a career-high 18 assists, Paul Pierce scored 22 points and the Boston Celtics won for the sixth time in seven games with a 94-86 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Friday night.
The Celtics led by 24 points late in the first half, but the Kings cut it to 87-81 with 3:12 left in the game on a 3-pointer by Beno Udrih. Then Boston scored the next five points and stayed in front by at least six after that.
Rondo moved into second place on the Celtics’ single-season assists list with 696. He passed Sherman Douglas’ total of 683 in 1993-94 and trails only Bob Cousy’s 715 in 1959-60.
Sacramento was led by Carl Landry with 30 points and Udrih with 16.
Boston rolled to a 32-17 lead after one quarter behind Pierce’s 11 points, Kevin Garnett’s seven rebounds and Rondo’s six assists. The Celtics led by 20 at halftime after Ray Allen scored 12 points in the last six minutes before intermission.
The Kings absorbed their fifth loss in six games after coming off a season-low point total in a 93-79 loss Wednesday night to the New Jersey Nets. They are playing without star rookie Tyreke Evans, who missed his fourth straight game following a concussion.
The Celtics played without starting center Kendrick Perkins, sidelined for the first time with a sore left knee, but didn’t need him.
It was 41-31 after Landry’s jumper midway through the second quarter. That’s when Allen and Rondo took over to lead a 16-2 run. That made it 57-33, Boston’s biggest lead of the game, with 1:37 remaining in the half.
Allen started the surge with a pair of layups on assists by Rondo, then sank a 3-pointer — all in a span of 48 seconds. Landry’s layup broke the streak, but the Celtics quickly started another one on a layup by Rondo. The point guard then fed Allen for a 3-pointer and, after a steal by Rasheed Wallace, the roles reversed as Allen passed to Rondo for a layup.
And when Garnett hit a long jumper — assisted by Rondo — the Celtics were up by 24.
NOTES: Boston G Nate Robinson did not return after spraining his left ankle with 7 minutes left in the second quarter. … Sacramento C Spencer Hawes left the game for good with a lower back strain with 9:36 remaining in the third quarter. … Rondo broke a tie with Rick Fox for the club record for steals in one season. They began the day tied at 167 and Rondo’s three steals gave him 170. … Sacramento fell to 7-30 on the road and plays at Eastern Conference leader Cleveland on Sunday. … The Celtics beat the Kings for the sixth straight time.