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Celtics rally past Knicks

THE Boston Celtics bounced back from a nail-biting defeat to an NBA title rival by beating the New York Knicks 110-100 yesterday.

Paul Pierce scored 26 points and Ray Allen finished with 22 as the Celtics quickly returned to winning ways after the 110-109 overtime loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday.

The win meant the Celtics won the season series against New York 3-1 and have won nine of the past 10 in the rivalry.

It was a fitting end to a difficult week for the Knicks, who lost to three of the NBA's best teams and surrendered a couple of the greatest performances in Madison Square Garden history over a matter of days. Kobe Bryant scored 61 points for the Lakers on Monday, and LeBron James had 52 points, 11 assists and nine rebounds for the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday.

Pacers 107, Magic 102

In Indianapolis, Indiana snapped a three-game losing streak by edging Orlando.

Danny Granger scored 14 of his 33 points in the fourth quarter. It was the 15th time he had scored 30 or more points this season for the Pacers, who avoided getting swept in the four-game season series between the two teams.

It was Orlando's second game without All-Star point guard Jameer Nelson, who's out for the season with a dislocated right shoulder.

Hawks 102, Bobcats 97

In Charlotte, North Carolina, Atlanta rallied from a 17-point deficit to overwhelm an undermanned Charlotte.

Marvin Williams scored 29 points and his impressive free-throw shooting keyed the comeback. He went 18-for-20 from the line, as the Hawks won their second straight game without All-Star Joe Johnson, who is ill.

The Hawks got two big defensive plays in the final seconds to send the Bobcats to their fourth straight loss.

Charlotte lost Raja Bell to a groin injury in the third quarter, and was also without top scorer Gerald Wallace for a fourth straight game.

Hornets 101, Raptors 92

In New Orleans, the home team tied a franchise record with 15 3-pointers, snapping their four-game losing streak and beating Toronto.

Peja Stojakovic scored a season-high 28 points, including seven 3s, his last coming during a decisive stretch in the fourth quarter when the Hornets hit six from distance in under five minutes.

Toronto lost its fifth straight.

Nuggets 124, Wizards 103

In Washington, Denver welcomed back starters Kenyon Martin and Chauncey Billups and cruised past Washington.

Carmelo Anthony delivered 23 points, eight rebounds, six assists as the Nuggets celebrated their best 50-game record since they joined the NBA in 1976.

Billups came back from a sprained right ankle to score 16 points against a Wizards team that dressed only nine players because of injury and illness and fell to an NBA-worst 10-40.

Martin, returning after missing two games with a throat infection, had his share of highlight-worthy dunks, too, and finished with 11 points and seven rebounds.
Suns 115, Warriors 105

In Phoenix, the hosts pulled away in the final 3-1/2 minutes to shake off Golden State.

Grant Hill scored a season-high 27 points as the Suns avenged a loss to the Warriors two days previously.

With his first basket, which didn't come until the second quarter because of foul trouble, the Suns' Shaquille O'Neal became the seventh player in NBA history to score 27,000 points.

Thunder 102, Trail Blazers 93
In Oklahoma City, the home team snapped a three-game losing streak by downing Portland.

Kevin Durant scored 31 points and outplayed Greg Oden in the first pro meeting between the top two picks of the 2007 NBA draft.

Portland fell to 0-4 in Oklahoma City, having also lost three times there during the two seasons New Orleans played in the arena.

The Trail Blazers, who had outrebounded their past six opponents, trailed 43-37 in that department and slipped 3-1/2 games behind Denver in the Nortwest Division.

Jazz 111, Kings 107

In Sacramento, California, Deron Williams scored 34 points on a badly bruised thigh and hit the go-ahead layup with 20 seconds to play, leading Utah past Sacramento.

Williams' poise and a couple of beneficial calls in the closing seconds helped the Jazz ruin the Kings' upset attempt in front of a raucous Sacramento crowd watching Chris Webber's jersey retirement ceremony.

The Jazz has won three straight.

Clippers 126, Grizzlies 105
In Memphis, Tennessee, Los Angeles snapped a seven-game losing streak with a strong performance against Memphis.

Zach Randolph had 35 points and 10 rebounds, while Ricky Davis added a season-high 24 points for the Clippers, who benefited from a franchise-record 16 3-pointers and shot 59 percent from the field, including 55 percent outside the arc.

It was their first road win since Dec. 19, ending a run of 11 straight defeats.


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