Pierce, Rondo lead Celtics, who spread wealth, in win over Magic

BOSTON (AP) -- Opponents expect big scoring nights from the likes of Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett.

But Rajon Rondo?

Often forgotten in the Celtics' star-packed starting lineup, Rondo matched a career high with 23 points -- including his first two 3-pointers of the season -- and Boston cruised to a 103-91 victory over the Orlando Magic on Sunday night.

"I think the league has the misconception of the three-headed monster, but obviously when you play a team that good, there is no room for error. You have to play almost flawless," Magic guard Keyon Dooling said.

Pierce scored 24 points and Garnett had 21 points to go along with 12 rebounds for the Celtics (22-3), who have the best record in the NBA. Allen scored 22, marking the first time in over eight years the Celtics had four players with better than 20 points in a game.

"Most teams start doubling off Rondo," Allen said. "He's proven that he can knock that jump shot down. That's been the question of him going into the season and, up to this point, he's done a great job for us."

The Celtics led by as many as 20 in the third quarter. But the Southeast Division-leading Magic, who handed the Celtics their first loss on Nov. 18, twice cut the lead to fewer than 10 in the fourth quarter.

Both times, Allen responded with 3-pointers to put the Celtics back up by a dozen.

"You need a lot of things to go right against them," Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said. "They have a lot of people out there and they make shots."

Dwight Howard led the Magic with 23 points and 14 rebounds for his 25th double-double of the season. Hedo Turkoglu scored 19 points and Rashard Lewis added 15 for Orlando, which has dropped seven of its last nine games.

The crowd chanted "brick" when Howard shot his free throws in the fourth quarter. For the game, he was 5-for-16 from the stripe.

The Celtics, who improved to 14-1 at home, used an 11-1 run at the end of the first half capped by a Rondo 3-pointer at the buzzer to take a 49-42 lead. Pierce led the Celtics with 12 points in the half, and Allen, Garnett and Rondo each had 10.

The Celtics' momentum carried into the second half, with their first possession producing a perfectly executed alley-oop dunk from Allen to Garnett.

Midway through the third quarter, the Celtics hit five 3-pointers -- one by Rondo and two each by Pierce and Allen -- in a 15-3 run to take their biggest lead of the night, 72-52.

"I had an expectation that we were going to be a good team" Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. "The good thing is, and I keep saying this, we're playing OK. We have a chance to be, if we keep working on it, so much better than we are right now."

Game notes
The Celtics begin a four-game trip the day after Christmas, their longest so far this season. ... Turkoglu's 3-pointer with 3 seconds left in first quarter gave him 6,000 in his career. ... Garnett was charged with a technical foul for arguing an offensive foul call with 4:40 left in the first half.