Tue, Dec 21, 2010 - Page 20 News List

NBA: Celtics power to 13th consecutive win

PRAISE INDEED:Pacers forward Danny Granger said Boston are not invincible, but to achieve victory, their opponents would need to ‘play a near perfect game’

AFP and ap, BOSTON

Paul Pierce scored 18 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and passed off 12 assists to power the Boston Celtics past Indiana 99-88 on Sunday for their 13th NBA victory in a row.

Pierce’s seventh career “triple double” — double-digit game statistics in three or more categories — was his first such feat in four years and helped the Celtics improve their Eastern Conference-best record to 22-4.

“I pride myself in trying to be a complete player,” Pierce said. “Throughout the course of my career I’ve worked on a lot of things on both sides of the ball.”

Ray Allen scored 17 points while Shaquille O’Neal added 11 in his return after missing four games with a right calf injury and Kevin Garnett had nine points and nine rebounds for Boston, who improved to 12-1 at home.

Glen Davis and Nate Robinson each added 17 points for the Celtics, with Robinson starting in place of injured guard Rajon Rondo, who is out indefinitely with a left ankle sprain.

The Pacers, led by 19 points from forward Danny Granger, pulled within four points before Davis and Allen sank jump shots and Allen intercepted a pass, evaded a defender and banked in a reverse layup to boost Boston’s edge to 91-83 with 3:11 to play.

“They can be beat, but you have to play a near perfect game,” Granger said. “The Celtics are more talented than those other teams across the board. They probably have 40 years of All-Star games between [them].”

Roy Hibbert added 17 points and 14 rebounds for Indiana, who fell to 12-14.

“They are a heck of a basketball team and they were stingy in the fourth quarter,” Pacers coach Jim O’Brien said. “We didn’t stop them enough times to give us a chance to make a run.”

LAKERS 120, RAPTORS 110

Kobe Bryant scored 20 points, Pau Gasol had 19 and the Los Angeles Lakers won their fifth straight game.

Andrew Bynum had 16 points and Shannon Brown 14 for the Lakers, who finished a seven-game road trip at 6-1 and have won eight of nine overall.

Matt Barnes had 12 and Lamar Odom 11 for the Lakers, who have won seven of eight against the Raptors.

Los Angeles are 11-5 away from home, the most road wins in the NBA.

Bryant started despite a sprained right pinky that he hurt in the opening quarter of Friday’s win at Philadelphia.

Toronto’s Lithuanian forward Linas Kleiza matched his season-high with 26 points and had 10 rebounds. DeMar DeRozan scored 23 points while Spaniard Jose Calderon had 20 points and 12 assists.

NETS 89, HAWKS 82

In Newark, New Jersey, Devin Harris had 22 points and eight assists and Brook Lopez added 16 points.

It marked the second straight time that the Nets (8-20) beat Atlanta (17-12) in Newark this season, having earned a 107-101 overtime victory on Nov. 23.

The Nets went in front early in the fourth quarter and never relinquished the lead, with Lopez scoring six of his points in the final period.

Stephen Graham scored 10 points and Troy Murphy added nine, both season highs, and newly acquired 2.01m Slovenian Sasha Vujacic had 10 points off the bench.

Mike Bibby scored 19 points, and Al Horford and Josh Smith added 15 apiece for the Hawks, who lost for the fourth time in six games.

PISTONS 111, HORNETS 108, OT

In Auburn Hills, Michigan, Will Bynum made a driving layup with 7.4 seconds left in overtime to claim victory for the Pistons.

Detroit trailed by one after a pair of free throws by David West with 15 seconds remaining. After a brief scramble, Bynum picked up the ball in the backcourt and went straight to the basket, getting a hard pick from Jason Maxiell along the way and scoring while drawing a foul.

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