Rajon Rondo looked like his old self Sunday — or as close as he has since he returned to action.
The Celtics’ star point guard, playing in his seventh game this season after missing nearly a year following a knee injury, notched a 19-point, 10-assist double-double while leading the Celtics to a 96-89 win over the Orlando Magic at TD Garden.
In a game between teams that had two of the three worst records in the NBA and had lost 35 of their last 40 games combined coming in, Rondo made 9 of his 11 shots and added 6 rebounds in 27 minutes to help Boston (16-33) snap a four-game losing streak.
The Magic (13-36) have lost 17 of their last 19 games, and they’ve also lost 11 straight road games. They were led by 18 points from Aaron Afflalo.
The Celtics led by as much as 12, but the Magic cut the lead to 86-84 with 2:29 left in the fourth quarter. Rondo answered with a short jumper from the right elbow, starting a 6-0 run that was capped by a Brandon Bass jumper off a feed from Rondo.
The Celtics were able to hang on from there, especially after Rondo came up with a key strip with 16.1 seconds left.
The four-time All-Star, who returned to the court after missing the team’s 1-point loss to Philadelphia last Wednesday, struggled with foul trouble but still finished with his highest point total this season.
The Celtics, who shot 50 percent from the floor, were also boosted by the return of starting guard Avery Bradley, who had missed five games with a sprained right ankle.
Bradley scored 17 points, Jared Sullinger added a game-high 21 points and 12 rebounds, and Bass finished with 19 points and 9 rebounds as the Celtics began February with a win after posting a 2-15 record in January, their most losses in any calendar month in franchise history.Baxter Holmes can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @BaxterHolmes.