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Rondo scores 17 as Celtics beat Raptors 81-73

The Associated Press
Elise Amendola | AP | BDN
Elise Amendola | AP | BDN
Toronto Raptors guard Jose Calderon (8) drives around Boston Celtics guard Avery Bradley during the second half of an NBA preseason basketball game in Boston, Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2011.

BOSTON — If you listened to the post-lockout reports, there was a chance Rajon Rondo wouldn’t have been on the TD Garden floor for Wednesday night’s preseason game against Toronto.

After the rumor mill had Rondo going to New Orleans in a deal for All-Star Chris Paul, it’s safe to assume the Boston Celtics are happy their point guard still has a familiar face.

Rondo scored 15 of his 17 points in the first half to lead the Celtics to an 81-73 victory over Toronto and a sweep of their two-game preseason series with the Raptors.

Rondo had 10 points in the first 8 minutes for Boston, which scored the game’s first eight points and never trailed. Rondo had seven assists and two steals in 23 minutes and joined his fellow starters on the bench midway through the third quarter to watch the rest of the game.

Paul Pierce missed both games for the Celtics with a heel injury and is questionable for the Christmas Day season opener against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden.

Reserve Brandon Bass, recently acquired in the deal that sent Glen Davis to Orlando, scored 12 points in 18 minutes, while rookie E’Twaun Moore, Boston’s second-round draft pick, had 11 points and four rebounds in his 18 minutes.

Andrea Bargnani scored 20 points and DeMar DeRozan had 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Raptors, who open their season in Cleveland on Monday night.

The Raptors were missing four players, including Leandro Barbosa, who suffered a back injury Sunday against Boston but is expected to play in the opener.

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