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Rondo, Celtics even series with Cavaliers

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Associated Press
May 10, 2010
— Those “MVP! MVP!” chants are usually reserved for LeBron James or one of Boston’s Big Three.

Rajon Rondo earned every one of them Sunday.


The Boston point guard had 29 points, 18 rebounds and 13 assists, and the Celtics beat the Cleveland Cavaliers, 97-87, on Sunday to even the Eastern Conference semifinal series at two games apiece.


Still sometimes overlooked among the Celtics’ other All-Stars, Rondo is the reason the Celtics are two wins away from knocking off the East’s No. 1 seed.


“I think it starts with Rondo. He’s kind of the engine that really gets them going,” James said. “He does everything for them. His performance was unbelievable.


“Rondo was definitely the difference maker.”


Rondo had a playoff career high in rebounds and matched his best scoring night in his fourth postseason triple-double. He played 47 minutes with some of his bigger-name teammates in foul trouble, and fans serenaded him with the chants as he knocked down a pair of free throws with 17 seconds left.


“He was absolutely sensational tonight,” Boston coach Doc Rivers said.


Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett scored 18 apiece for the Celtics, who rebounded from the worst home playoff loss in franchise history and ensured they’ll get at least one more game at home. Game 5 is Tuesday night in Cleveland before the series returns to Boston on Thursday night.


James scored 22 points—only one more than he had in the first quarter of Game 3—and seemed frustrated during a seven-turnover performance. Shaquille O’Neal added 17 points, his high for this postseason, but was on the bench when the Celtics blew by the Cavaliers in the fourth quarter.


Tony Allen scored a playoff career-high 15 points in 26 spirited minutes off the bench for the Celtics, helping spell the foul-plagued Paul Pierce and Ray Allen.


Pierce continued to struggle, managing only nine points in 31 minutes, but Rondo made sure he


wasn’t missed.


n Suns 107, Spurs 101—The Phoenix Suns swept away seven years of bad playoff memories brought by the San Antonio Spurs.


Steve Nash scored 20 points and played with a right eye that was swollen shut as Phoenix swept San Antonio from the Western Conference semifinals.


Amare Stoudemire led the way with 29 points to help the Suns get past the Spurs in the playoffs for the first time in five tries.


Phoenix sealed its third trip to the West finals since 2005, and gets another crack at returning to the NBA finals for the first time since 1993.


The Suns will either play the Los Angeles Lakers or the Utah Jazz in the West finals. The Lakers lead that series 3-0, and no team in NBA playoff history has ever come back from that deficit to win.



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