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Celtics beat Hornets 97-87 to improve to 4-0

PAUL Pierce scored 27 points as the Boston Celtics continued their unbeaten start to the NBA season with a 97-87 victory over the New Orleans Hornets last night.

Chris Paul had 22 points and eight assists for New Orleans, and then had to be held back after the game when he tried to follow the Celtics off the court to their locker room. Paul and Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo also exchanged words in the second quarter, drawing matching technical fouls.

Ray Allen scored 17, Kevin Garnett had 14 and Rondo had 10 assists for Boston, which pulled away with an 11-3 run in the last 4 minutes.

Peja Stojakovic scored 26 as a reserve for New Orleans. Emeka Okafor had 10 rebounds for New Orleans.

Heat 95, Bulls 87

At Miami, Dwyane Wade scored 25 points to push his career total to 10,005, while Udonis Haslem had 19 points and 11 rebounds off the bench as Miami improved to 3-0.

Carlos Arroyo scored 12 points, Mario Chalmers added 11 and Michael Beasley overcame a 3-of-12 shooting night to finish with 10 points and 11 rebounds for the Heat, who took the lead for good on a jumper by Wade with 3:01 remaining.

Luol Deng scored 26 points for Chicago, which got 17 points from John Salmons, 11 from Brad Miller and 10 from Joakim Noah.

Nuggets 133, Grizzlies 123

At Denver, Carmelo Anthony scored 42 points in the Nuggets' shootout win over the Grizzlies.

O.J. Mayo scored a career-high 40 points for Memphis.

Chauncey Billups chipped in 22 points and 12 assists, and Kenyon Martin had 16 and Nene 18. All five of the Grizzlies' starters scored in double figures. Marc Gasol had 20 points.

Suns 120, Timberwolves 112

At Phoenix, Channing Frye hit six 3-pointers and scored 25 points, and Jason Richardson had 23 points in his first game following a two-game suspension for the undefeated Suns.

Grant Hill had 23 points and 10 rebounds for Phoenix. Amare Stoudemire added 19 points and eight rebounds, and Steve Nash had 14 points and 14 assists.

Ryan Gomes led Minnesota with 23 points. Al Jefferson scored 21 but hit only 9-of-23 shots.

Magic 125, Raptors 116

At Toronto, Jameer Nelson scored 30 points, J.J. Redick had a career-high 27 and Orlando used a season-high 17 3-pointers to beat Toronto.

Dwight Howard had 24 points and 11 rebounds, Ryan Anderson scored 20 and the Magic remained unbeaten from three NBA matches following an 8-0 run in the preseason.

Chris Bosh led Toronto with 35 points and 16 rebounds while Andrea Bargnani had 26, including 22 in the second half. Former Magic swingman Hedo Turkoglu had 19 points for Toronto, which has lost two straight following a season-opening victory over Cleveland.

Trail Blazers 83, Thunder 74

At Oklahoma City, Steve Blake scored 18 points and Brandon Roy finished with 16 as Portland earned a split of a two-game trip.

Roy made just four of his first 16 shots before finally finding a way to hurt Oklahoma City at the free throw line. While Kevin Durant continued to misfire on jump shots for the Thunder, Roy worked his way into the lane repeatedly to earn trips to the foul line and help Portland inch away.

His three-point play off a driving layup gave the Trail Blazers a 70-62 lead with 3:59 to play.

Russell Westbrook led Oklahoma City with 23 points but also matched his career-high with nine turnovers. Jeff Green added 19 points and 11 rebounds, and Durant scored 16 points on 3-for-21 shooting as the Thunder shot just 34 percent.


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