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Garnett returns in Celtics' 80-77 win over Spurs

PLAYING sparingly in his first game in a month, Kevin Garnett sat out a thrilling fourth quarter that ended with San Antonio missing six consecutive free throws to help the visiting Boston escape with an 80-77 win yesterday.

Ray Allen scored 19 points and Glen David hit a short fallaway with 2:10 left that wound up being the winner for Boston, which avenged a loss at home to San Antonio earlier this year.

Tony Parker led the Spurs with 25 points but missed four free throws in the final minute when San Antonio needed only two to tied the game.

Mavericks 94, Pacers 92

At Indianapolis, Dirk Nowitzki finished the game with a nifty stepback move, then hit a 20-foot shot with 1.1 seconds left as Dallas edged Indiana.

The eight-time All-Star forward scored 17 points in the first half, then went just 3-of-11 from the field over the final 24 minutes - numbers that will almost certainly be forgotten after his closing flurry.

Indiana was led by Danny Granger, who had 18 points and 11 rebounds in his second start since returning from a foot injury. But Granger's potentially tying 20-footer at the buzzer was partially blocked by Dallas' Ryan Hollins.

Rockets 107, Timberwolves 88

At Houston, Ron Artest scored 20 points, and Aaron Brooks and Von Wafer added 13 apiece in Houston's win over Minnesota.

Yao Ming scored 14 points, but missed 10 of his 16 shots. He also had eight rebounds before leaving for good late in the third quarter. The Rockets had the game in hand by then, stretching their lead to 24 earlier in the quarter.

Craig Smith scored 19 and Kevin Love had 18 points and 12 rebounds for the Timberwolves.>

Nets 96, Heat 88

At East Rutherford, New Jersey, Vince Carter had 17 points, nine rebounds and eight assists as New Jersey spoiled the return of NBA leading scorer Dwyane Wade to the Miami lineup after a one-game absence.

Jarvis Hayes hit two late jumpers and rookie Chris Douglas-Roberts, getting playing time because of a shoulder injury that has sidelined Devin Harris, added a 3-pointer with 1:10 to go as New Jersey won its second straight game.

Hayes and Douglas-Roberts each finished with 18 points and Brook Lopez added 15.

Wade had 27 points, eight rebounds and six assists in returning from a hip flexor injury that caused him to sit out Wednesday night's loss in Boston. Michael Beasley added 17 points and Jermaine O'Neal had 15.

Kings 121, Knicks 94

At New York, Kevin Martin had 30 points as Sacramento downed New York to finally beat an Eastern Conference team on their 29th try.

Beno Udrih added 20 points, seven rebounds and seven assists for the Kings, who had lost five straight overall and were two games away from a winless season against the other conference.

Nate Robinson scored 19 for the Knicks, who have lost three straight, including consecutive blowouts on their home floor.

Bobcats 102, Raptors 89

At Toronto, Gerald Wallace and Boris Diaw scored 30 points each for Charlotte, which came in 1 1/2 games out of the Eastern Conference's final playoff spot.

Raymond Felton had 14 points and Wallace also had nine rebounds and eight assist to help the Bobcats who have won three straight.

Chris Bosh scored 35 points and Andrea Bargnani added 27 for Toronto, which has lost nine of its past 10. Toronto last played Monday at Charlotte, losing 112-86.

Jazz 101, Thunder 94

At Oklahoma City, Deron Williams scored 20 of his 24 points in the second half and added 11 assists for Utah, which lost Mehmet Okur in the first half.

Williams hit his first eight shots in the second half and directed a 16-6 run that gave the Jazz a 15-point lead that proved insurmountable.

Carlos Boozer added 15 points and eight rebounds, Paul Millsap scored 14 and Okur had 12 points before he was poked in the eye in the second quarter and had to leave the game.

Kevin Durant led Oklahoma City with 24 points and 12 rebounds, and Russell Westbrook added 22 points.

Hornets 96, Grizzlies 84

At New Orleans, Chris Paul had 32 points and David West scored 29 to help New Orleans send Memphis to its third straight loss.

The game was close inside the final five minutes before the Hornets went on a 17-1 run in a span of 3:25, with Paul scoring twice and setting up Julian Wright's alley-oop dunk and Rasual Butler's 3 during the spurt.

Rudy Gay had 23 points for the Grizzlies.

Pistons 108, Clippers 90

At Auburn Hills, Michigan, Antonio McDyess scored 24 points and Tayshaun Prince had 23 points and 12 assists as a short-handed Detroit downed the LOs Angeles Clippers.

Will Bynum added a career-high 22 points for Detroit, which was missing four of its top five scorers, and used just eight players most of the night.

Rookie Eric Gordon scored 22 points and Baron Davis added 19 for the Clippers, who have lost 13 straight against the Pistons.


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