Boston Celtics

Rockets fly to 15th straight win by beating Celtics

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Rockets fly to 15th straight win by beating Celtics

HOUSTON -- Eric Gordon scored 29 points off the bench, James Harden had 26 points and 10 assists, and the Houston Rockets outlasted the Boston Celtics 123-120 on Saturday night to extend their winning streak to a season-high 15 games.

Houston trailed by six before using a 10-2 run, with the last five points coming from Trevor Ariza, to take a 117-115 lead with 1:16 remaining. Ariza made a 3-pointer before stealing the ball from Kyrie Irving and finishing with a basket on the other end to cap the run.

Al Horford missed shots on Boston's next two possessions before Chris Paul made two free throws with 15 seconds left to push the lead to four. Irving made a layup seconds later, but Harden made one of two free throws with 7.4 seconds left to make it 120-117.

Irving and Paul hit two free throws each before Irving made one and purposely missed the second with 2.8 seconds left. Gordon made one of two free throws to make it 123-120 with 2.3 seconds remaining, and Marcus Smart's 3-point attempt bounced off the rim at the buzzer to give Houston the win (see full recap).

Harris scores 32 as Nuggets roll LeBron, Cavs 
CLEVELAND -- Gary Harris scored 32 points, Will Barton added 23 and the Denver Nuggets did most of their damage behind the 3-point arc in a 126-117 win over LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday night.

The Nuggets made 19 of 35 3-pointers, including three in the final 2:26, to hold off a second-half charge from the Cavs, who are struggling as they try to blend in four new players on the fly.

James finished with 25 points, 15 assists and 10 rebounds -- his 13th triple-double this season -- but Cleveland's lack of a dependable No. 2 scorer with Kevin Love out with a broken left hand continues to be a major problem.

More troublesome, though, is the Cavs' defense or lack of it. Whenever Denver needed a big basket, the Nuggets got it by making the extra pass and exploiting holes in Cleveland's defense (see full recap).

Ball, Randle rally Lakers past Spurs late
SAN ANTONIO -- Lonzo Ball hit a career-best six 3-pointers, Julius Randle had 25 points and the Los Angeles Lakers rallied in the final two minutes to beat the San Antonio Spurs 116-112 on Saturday night.

Ball made three shots from beyond the arc in the final three minutes to give the Lakers their fifth straight victory. Ball finished with 18 points, and Isaiah Thomas added 21 points.

The Spurs lost their second straight game in which they never trailed until the final two minutes (see full recap).

Celtics survive to remain atop East

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Celtics survive to remain atop East

WASHINGTON -- Kyrie Irving scored 12 of Boston's last 17 points and finished with 28 to help the Celtics remain in sole possession of the Eastern Conference lead with a 110-104 overtime victory over the Washington Wizards on Thursday night.

Jaylen Brown added five of his 18 points in overtime for Boston. The Celtics have won five of six, and remained a game ahead of Toronto in the race for the East's top playoff seed after the Raptors win over New York earlier Thursday.

Otto Porter had 27 points and 11 rebounds for Washington, and Bradley Beal had 18 points and matched his career high with nine assists.

But as John Wall remains sidelined following knee surgery, the Wizards committed 22 turnovers and shot just 2 for 12 in the overtime period, dropping their second straight game after winning five straight.

Irving went 9 of 10 from the foul line in his second game back from a thigh injury. And after Boston allowed Washington to come back from a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit, he tied it from the line in the late seconds on three made foul shots after luring Markieff Morris into a foul on a 3-point attempt.

That was part of 10 straight points for Irving before finding Brown for a layup that made it 105-103 with 2:32 left in overtime.

Brown stretched the lead to five when he hit a contested baseline 3-pointer about a minute later, and the Wizards failed to get within a possession after that (see full recap).

Valanciunas, Raptors crush shorthanded Knicks
TORONTO -- Jonas Valanciunas had 18 points and 10 rebounds, Pascal Siakam added 14 points and a career-high six assists and the Toronto Raptors beat the New York Knicks 113-88 on Thursday night.

New York played its first game since losing All-Star forward Kristaps Porzingis to a torn left ACL in Tuesday's loss to Milwaukee.

Serge Ibaka and Jakob Poeltl scored 13 points, Delon Wright and C.J. Miles each had 11 and Fred VanVleet 10 as the Raptors won their fifth straight home meeting with the Knicks.

The Raptors have won four straight and six of seven. Toronto is an NBA-best 23-4 at home.

Toronto won despite poor shooting performances from All-Star guards DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry. DeRozan shot 2 for 11 and scored eight points, while Lowry shot 2 for 8 and finished with seven.

The Raptors outscored the Knicks 61-35 in bench points.

Michael Beasley scored 21 points and Trey Burke had 12 as the Knicks lost their fifth straight (see full recap).

Fournier leads Magic to 3rd straight win
ORLANDO, Fla. -- Evan Fournier scored 22 points, D.J. Augustin added 16 points and nine assists, and the Orlando Magic held on to beat the Atlanta Hawks 100-98 on Thursday night.

Marreese Speights added 14 points and Jonathon Simmons had 13 for the Magic, who won their third straight. It's only the second time this season the Magic have won three in a row.

Taurean Prince and Dennis Schroder led the Hawks with 19 points apiece. Tyler Dorsey and Malcolm Delaney each added 11.

The Hawks and Magic exchanged the lead seven times in the fourth quarter until Fournier scored eight straight points for Orlando to create the first separation of the second half. He started it with a three-point play, followed that with a 3-pointer, then drained a 15-foot jumper to make it 94-89 with 57 seconds left in the game.

Augustin and Simmons combined to go 6 for 6 from the free throw line in the final 39 seconds to keep Atlanta at bay.

The Hawks made three 3-pointers in the final 36 seconds, but Dewayne Dedmon missed one with just over 20 seconds left that could have tied the game at 98 (see full recap).

Horford nails Super Bowl Sunday buzzer-beater

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Horford nails Super Bowl Sunday buzzer-beater

BOSTON — Al Horford captured the attention of Boston sports fans even on Super Bowl Sunday.

Horford made a 15-foot fadeaway jumper at the buzzer and the Celtics finished off the Portland Trail Blazers 97-96 Sunday, giving New England fans a few hours to get home before the Patriots played for the NFL championship.

"Wanted to end the game so we could go watch the Super Bowl," Celtics coach Brad Stevens said.

Stevens spoke while wearing a Patriots hat. He was joined by Eagles fan and Celtics player Marcus Morris, who sported an Eagles jersey.

"I called game when Al hit the turnaround, just so you know," Morris said (see full recap).

Bazemore's late 3 lifts Hawks over Knicks
NEW YORK — It was a bull's-eye for Kent Bazemore.

Bazemore hit a 3-pointer with 6.7 seconds left that put the Atlanta Hawks ahead Sunday in a 99-96 win over the New York Knicks.

"It's just a catch-and-shoot situation," Bazemore said. "We work on plays all the time in practice where we have a guy who drives and kicks it out to somebody in the corner. It's just a synergy and rhythm thing."

"I read a book called the `Zen in the Art of Archery.' It talks about just let it go. Let it go and let the energy of the world take care of the rest," he said.

The Hawks rallied from a 93-87 deficit in the final 2:16 (see full recap).

Thunder lose 4th straight despite Westbrook's 36 points
OKLAHOMA CITY — Brook Lopez scored 20 points, Julius Randle added 19 and the Los Angeles Lakers sent the Oklahoma City Thunder to their fourth straight loss, 108-104 on Sunday.

Jordan Clarkson scored 18 points and Brandon Ingram added 16 for the Lakers, who have won six of eight.

Russell Westbrook scored 36 points and Paul George added 26 for the Thunder. Oklahoma City had won eight in a row before its current skid.

The Lakers took an 82-79 lead into the fourth quarter. Westbrook checked back in with the Lakers leading 87-84 and just over eight minutes remaining.

The Lakers went up 98-90 on a fast break layup by Josh Hart. Ingram made a layup for the Lakers and George fouled him (see full recap).

Antetokounmpo exits early in Bucks' win
NEW YORK — Giannis Antetokounmpo was planning to come back in, though his coach seemed to have other ideas.

Eric Bledsoe and the Bucks made it a moot point.

Bledsoe scored 28 points, John Henson had season highs with 19 points and 18 rebounds, and Milwaukee easily extended its winning streak over the Brooklyn Nets to 10 games with a 109-94 victory Sunday.

Antetokounmpo twisted his right ankle with about 7 1/2 minutes remaining, not long after the Nets had cut what had been a 28-point deficit to seven. But the Bucks got the next two baskets after his departure to finish an 8-0 run and push the lead back to 15.

"Giannis is a big piece of our team but we got other guys that can step up, especially down the stretch, and took on that role," Bledsoe said. "We just stayed together and hopefully he's all right." (see full recap.)