LOS ANGELES (AP) — Dwight Howard had 24 points and 12 rebounds in helping the Los Angeles Lakers to an emotional 113-99 victory over the Boston Celtics on Wednesday night in their first game since the death of owner Jerry Buss.
Kobe Bryant added 16 points, Steve Nash and Earl Clark had 14 apiece, and Metta World Peace 12 in a game that surely would have delighted Buss, who always loved to win but especially liked beating the Celtics.
The Lakers won their most recent NBA championship — and last under Buss — in 2010, defeating the Celtics 4-3 in the finals. Buss died Monday at 80 after an 18-month struggle with cancer that had forced him to watch his team’s games on TV or an iPad instead of from his suite above the Staples Center court.
Paul Pierce scored 26 points for the Celtics, who fell to 8-17 on the road and lost their third in a row away from home. Courtney Lee added 20 points and Kevin Garnett had 12 on 6-of-14 shooting.
PACERS 125, KNICKS 91
Paul George scored 27 points and Indiana powered its way closer to the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference by beating New York.
David West had 18 points and nine rebounds, and Lance Stephenson added 14 points for Indiana (33-21), which pulled within a half-game of the Knicks for second place in the East.
The Pacers shot 53 percent from the field, scored a season-high point total and had a season-best 28 assists against the Atlantic Division leaders. It was Indiana’s largest margin of victory this season and New York’s worst loss.
Tyson Chandler led New York with 19 points and 11 rebounds. Carmelo Anthony, the league’s No. 2 scorer, finished with 15 points on 7-for-21 shooting.
ROCKETS 122, THUNDER 119
HOUSTON (AP) — James Harden scored a career-high 46 points and Jeremy Lin added 29 as the Houston mounted a furious fourth-quarter comeback.
Houston was down by 14 points with about seven minutes left. The Rockets used a 21-4 run to erase the deficit and take a 114-111 lead with 1:46 remaining. Harden stepped back under heavy pressure from Serge Ibaka to sink a 3 to tie it, before Lin connected on one seconds later to give the Rockets their first lead of the second half.
Harden made a bucket before Ibaka made two free throws. Then came another 3 by Lin to extend the lead to 119-113.
Thabo Sefolosha led the Thunder with 28 points and had six 3-pointers, both career highs. His previous career high was 22, which he reached twice, most recently in 2008.
Westbrook also scored 28 points and added 10 rebounds and eight assists. Kevin Durant had 16 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists for his second career triple-double.
HEAT 103, HAWKS 90
ATLANTA (AP) — Miami scored the first 13 points of the fourth quarter to erase Atlanta’s 10-point lead and the Heat, led by LeBron James’ 24 points, ended beat the Hawks 103-90 on Wednesday night to extend their season-best winning streak to eight games.
Dwyane Wade scored 20 points and Shane Battier had 17, hitting three 3-pointers in the final period. James had 11 assists and six rebounds but could not extend his franchise-record streak of seven straight games with at least 30 points.
Miami outscored Atlanta 40-17 in the final period after trailing 73-63 through three quarters.
Al Horford led the Hawks with 27 points and nine rebounds. Kyle Korver had 12 points, all on 3-pointers.
NETS 97, BUCKS 94
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Deron Williams scored 23 points and Brooklyn escaped after Monta Ellis missed on a chance to tie the game with three foul shots in the final seconds.
The Bucks got to within 96-94 with 6 seconds left on a pair of baskets by Brandon Jennings.
Gerald Wallace inbounded to Williams, but Jennings was draped over his right side. The contact shook the ball loose and it appeared to hit Williams’ foot before rolling out of bounds. After review, the Nets had possession. Williams was fouled and made one of two free throws to make it 97-94 with 3.4 seconds left.
Williams then fouled Ellis on a hurried 3. Ellis missed the first two shots, and intentionally missed the third.
The Nets swept the home-and-home with Milwaukee, with both games being decided in the final seconds.
GRIZZLIES 88, RAPTORS 82
TORONTO (AP) — Zach Randolph had 17 points and 18 rebounds, Mike Conley scored 17 points and Memphis won its fifth straight.
Toronto’s Rudy Gay came up short against his former team as the Raptors had their five-game winning streak ended.
Acquired from Memphis in a three-team trade on Jan. 30, Gay had 13 points and nine rebounds but struggled with his shooting, making just five of 15 attempts. He also had a game-high five turnovers.
Tony Allen scored 12 points and Tayshaun Prince had 11 as the Grizzlies won for the eighth time in nine meetings with the Raptors and posted their fourth straight win in Toronto.
Alan Anderson scored 15 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter as the Raptors erased a nine-point deficit to tie the game, but couldn’t take the lead.
CAVALIERS 105, HORNETS 100
CLEVELAND (AP) — Kyrie Irving scored 20 of his 35 points in the fourth quarter to lead Cleveland.
Irving was coming off an impressive showing at All-Star weekend in Houston and scored 11 consecutive points for the Cavaliers as they broke away from an 83-all tie in the final 4:23. His performance brought the crowd at Quicken Loans Arena to its feet during the final minutes and had Irving pumping his fist on several occasions.
The game featured a matchup between the past two No. 1 overall draft picks — Irving and Hornets center Anthony Davis. Irving made 13 of 22 shots and all seven of his free throws while having seven assists. Davis had 12 points and four rebounds.
WARRIORS 108, SUNS 98
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Klay Thompson had 28 points and eight rebounds, David Lee finished with 19 points and 11 boards and Golden State snapped a season-high, six-game losing streak by beating Phoenix.
Jarrett Jack added 21 points off the bench and Stephen Curry scored 20, with both making some key shots late to secure Golden State’s first victory in almost three weeks. The Warriors hadn’t won since routing Phoenix 113-93 on Feb. 2.
Goran Dragic had 20 points and 10 assists, and Jermaine O’Neal added 17 points and 12 rebounds for the Suns, who have lost five straight to Golden State, including all three meetings this season.
MAVERICKS 111, MAGIC 96
DALLAS (AP) — Shawn Marion and Elton Brand scored 17 apiece, Vince Carter again provided a spark off the bench and Dallas beat Orlando.
The victory snapped a nine-game winning streak for the road team in the series, and the Magic lost for the 26th time in 29 games despite a third-quarter surge that put them in front.
The Mavericks put away an Orlando team playing on the second night of a back-to-back with a 17-0 fourth-quarter run that restored the double-digit lead they had in the second quarter.
Carter finished with 14 points and had another burst of key 3-pointers to help Dallas retake the lead. Dirk Nowitzki had 12 points and a team-high nine rebounds.
Arron Afflalo led Orlando with 21 points.
TIMBERWOLVES 94, 76ERS 87
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Nikola Pekovic had 27 points and tied a career high with 18 rebounds to power Minnesota.
Derrick Williams had 17 points and eight rebounds and Andrei Kirilenko added 15 points and five assists in his return from a thigh injury for the Timberwolves, who won for the fourth time in their last 20 games.
Evan Turner scored 17 points and Jrue Holiday scored 16 after making his All-Star debut on Sunday for the 76ers, who couldn’t come up with an answer for Pekovic in the paint in a rough and tumble game. Philadelphia has lost seven straight road games and has won just six times away from home all season, the third fewest wins in the NBA.
PISTONS 105, BOBCATS 99
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Greg Monroe scored 10 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter, stepping up with Brandon Knight on the bench nursing a hyperextended right knee, to lead Detroit.
Knight had 21 points before injuring his knee late in the third quarter. Monroe then took over, finishing with seven rebounds and seven assists as the Pistons denied the Bobcats their first back-to-back wins since November.
Jose Calderon finished with 17 points for Detroit.
Kemba Walker led Charlotte with 24 points, and Ramon Sessions had 18 points and eight assists. Byron Mullens added 15 points for the Bobcats, who have the worst record in the NBA.