Toronto, Canada – CHICAGO (Reuters) - The Boston Celtics overcame a sluggish start to streak to their 10th successive victory with a 106-80 crushing of the Chicago Bulls on Saturday.
Seven Boston players finished in double figures and the Eastern Conference leaders used strong second-half defense to boost their league-best road record to 11-1.
Rajon Rondo provided 16 points and 14 assists and Kevin Garnett also had a double-double, scoring 12 points and grabbing 10 rebounds.
"In the first half, I thought (the bench) was the group that actually stretched the lead for us and got us going,'' Boston coach Doc Rivers told reporters.
"I thought in the first quarter we just traded baskets. Once we just started defending in the second quarter, we stretched the lead."
Derrick Rose scored 19 points and Luol Deng 17 for the Bulls, who slumped to their eighth loss in 10 games despite scoring the contest's first six points.
Boston quickly made up the difference on two Pierce three-pointers and ended the quarter with a 29-26 advantage.
The Celtics blew the game open in the second half when Chicago shot only 26 per cent and were outscored 52-34.
The Bulls did not make a field goal for the final 6:17 of the third quarter and were behind by 20 points at quarter's end.
"They're struggling offensively," Rondo said. "They scored at a high level last year. I'm sure they're missing (Ben) Gordon (injured). He made tough shots for them. They don't have a lot of 3-point shooting guys. Most of their guys are slashers."
(Reporting by Gene Cherry in Salvo, North Carolina. Editing by Alastair Himmer)