Boston Celtics

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.)

Celtics survive near-dramatic finish against Nuggets

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Celtics survive near-dramatic finish against Nuggets

DENVER -- Kyrie Irving scored 10 of his 27 points in the fourth quarter, Jaylen Brown hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 34 seconds remaining and the struggling Boston Celtics edged the Denver Nuggets 111-110 on Monday night.

Denver had a chance to win in dramatic fashion at the end but Torrey Craig's tip-in of Will Barton's long attempt from 3-point range was too late.

Irving finished 11 of 17 from the field to lead the Celtics to just their second win in seven games. Jayson Tatum added 20 points and Marcus Morris had 14 off the bench.

Boston blew a 20-point lead and trailed heading into the final period. Then the Celtics couldn't hold onto a six-point advantage in the final two minutes as the Nuggets tied the game at 108 with 43 seconds to go.

Nikola Jokic had a double-double by the first minute of the second half for Denver, finishing with 24 points and 11 rebounds. Barton scored 19, Gary Harris 15 and Jamal Murray 14.

Mason Plumlee had 16 points and eight rebounds before he left with a leg injury in the fourth.

The Celtics beat Denver for the second time this season, also prevailing 124-118 on Dec. 13.

Boston made 10 of its first 16 shots from beyond the perimeter to go up 51-31 in the second quarter and led 56-45 at halftime. Irving led the way with 15 points on 6-of-7 shooting.

The Nuggets climbed back on the strength of a 14-5 run to end the half and outscored Boston 37-24 in the third to go up 82-80 (see full recap).

Oladipo, Pacers pull away for win over Hornets
INDIANAPOLIS -- Victor Oladipo scored 25 points, Myles Turner added 22 and the Indiana Pacers pulled away late for a 105-96 victory over the Charlotte Hornets on Monday night.

The Pacers have won two in a row and four of five.

Kemba Walker finished with 23 points and a trio of 3-pointers to lead the Hornets, who have lost two straight and four of six.

Dwight Howard had 22 points and 11 rebounds for Charlotte. Nicolas Batum made five 3s and wound up with 22 points.

Both teams had chances to take control throughout the first 3 quarters. Neither could until Oladipo's 19-footer spurred a 13-4 run, which finally gave Indiana a 94-86 lead with six minutes to go.

After that, it was no contest.

Turner's 3-pointer started a 7-0 run that extended the lead to 103-89 with 2:46 left -- the biggest advantage of the game for either team.

Charlotte couldn't cut the deficit to single digits until the final minute in a game that featured 18 lead changes and 16 ties (see full recap).

Whiteside helps Heat sweep Mavs yet again
DALLAS -- Hassan Whiteside had 25 points and 14 rebounds as the Miami Heat completed another season series sweep of the Dallas Mavericks with a 95-88 victory Monday night.

The Heat never trailed after Goran Dragic had a steal that led to Tyler Johnson's tiebreaking 3-pointer to make it 38-35 just under 4 1/2 minutes left in the first half. Their lead went to double-digits again after Whiteside had consecutive baskets midway through the third quarter.

Harrison Barnes had 20 points and Wesley Matthews 19 for the Mavericks (16-35), who have dropped four games in a row and seven of eight overall.

This is the 14th time in their 30 seasons that the Heat, who beat Dallas 113-101 at home on Dec. 22, have swept the regular-season series. These teams twice met in the NBA Finals, with Miami getting its first championship in 2006 and the Mavs winning their only title in 2011.

Miami (29-21) led 51-41 when Josh Richardson hit a 3-pointer with 41 seconds left in the first half. But the Mavs trimmed that in half when rookie Dennis Smith Jr. made a defended buzzer-beating 3-pointer from about 27 feet to make it 51-46. James Johnson had a hand up in front of Smiths' face with Whiteside coming from the side.

Richardson had 14 points for the Heat, while Gragic had 13 and Kelly Olynyk 12.

Smith scored 14 for Dallas, and Nowitzki 10 (see full recap).