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Celtics Win Ninth Straight, Beat Wizards 104-102

Courtesy of AP | 12/11/2009, 10:15 a.m.

Rajon Rondo's driving dunk with a minute remaining broke a tie and led the Eastern Conference-leading Boston Celtics to their ninth straight victory, 104-102 over the Washington Wizards on Thursday night, Dec. 10.

Rondo had 21 points and 11 assists, and Ray Allen had 18 and became the 32nd NBA player to score 20,000 points. Kevin Garnett had 17 points, and Kendrick Perkins added 16 points and 11 rebounds.

Gilbert Arenas led Washington with 25 points, but missed a pair of free throws with 26.7 seconds to play. Arenas missed five of his six free throws.After Paul Pierce hit one of two free throws to make it 101-98, Arenas hit a layup with 17 seconds to make it 101-100. Allen hit two free throws with 14.6 left for a 103-100 lead. Arenas and Randy Foye missed 3-point attempts in the final seconds.

The Celtics are 18-4 and have won 10 of their 11 road games. With the victory, they broke a tie with Orlando for the best record in the Eastern Conference.

The Wizards, who have lost three straight, hit their first four shots of the game, and made 10 of their first 15 to take a 26-19 lead with 3:43 to play in the first quarter. Washington missed its last seven shots of the quarter as the Celtics started a 21-6 run to take a 40-32 lead with 8:17 to play in second quarter.

Boston extended the lead to 14 at 64-50 at halftime, shooting 62.9 percent, and holding the Wizards without an individual rebound in the second quarter. According to STATS Inc., that hasn't happened in the seven years it has kept records.

Allen became the 32nd NBA player to score 20,000 points in his career, hitting a a 3-pointer with 4:44 remaining in the third quarter. Allen came into the game needing 14 points for 20,000.

NOTES: Washington played wearing patches on their jerseys honoring late owner Abe Pollin and two logos were placed on the court. ... Pierce scored 12 points, giving him 19,002 in his career. ... Washington coach Flip Saunders says there's no timetable for the return of injured G Mike James, who began practicing this week. James has missed more than a month with a broken finger. ... Boston has won four straight games between the teams. Last season, the Celtics swept all three meetings.