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.
Bynum missed the free throw, and New Orleans called a timeout, but Maxiell tipped away the inbound pass, outfought West for the ball and dunked with 0.5 seconds remaining.
The Pistons were without guards Richard Hamilton and Rodney Stuckey, who sat out with an upset stomach and a sore left big toe.
ROCKETS 102, KINGS 93
In Sacramento, California, Kevin Martin scored 22 points and Houston won for the fourth time in five games but only the fourth time this year on the road.
DeMarcus Cousins had 19 points, eight rebounds and four blocks for the Kings, who lost their fifth straight and 19th of 21 games.
Francisco Garcia and Tyreke Evans scored 14 points each and Carl Landry had 11 for the Kings. Sacramento are 3-11 at home this season and have the NBA’s worst record at 5-20.
Luis Scola had 17 points and nine rebounds and Kyle Lowry added 13 points and seven assists for Houston, who outscored the Kings 23-12 in the fourth quarter.
SUNS 113, THUNDER 110
In Oklahoma City, Grant Hill scored a season-high 30 points and had 11 rebounds, Steve Nash added 20 points and 10 assists and short-handed Phoenix snapped Oklahoma City’s five-game winning streak.
Phoenix played while waiting for trade acquisitions Vince Carter, Marcin Gortat and Mickael Pietrus to join the team but found a way to edge past the Thunder down the stretch.
The Suns let a 13-point lead slip away but were able to recover and take the lead for good on Robin Lopez’s right-handed dunk with 6:45 left. Oklahoma City got within a point in the final 7 seconds, but never got the chance to take the lead as the teams traded foul shots.
Kevin Durant led the Thunder with 28 points, and Russell Westbrook and Jeff Green scored 19 apiece.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY STAFF WRITER
The NBA said was re-evaluating its training program in China following allegations of abuse of young players by local staff and harassment of foreign staffers at a facility in Xinjiang. The comments come after a report by ESPN that quoted unnamed American coaches as saying that Chinese coaches hit young players. One American coach who worked at a camp in Xinjiang complained of harassment by local police, the sports network said. “The allegations in the ESPN article are disturbing,” NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum said in an e-mail statement on Thursday. “We ended our involvement with the basketball academy in Xinjiang in June
Coming from the business world, New York Liberty owner Joe Tsai (蔡崇信) did not understand why his WNBA franchise did not have a chief executive officer similar to the team’s NBA counterpart the Brooklyn Nets, which Tsai also owns. For Tsai, it was about equality, so he did something about it. The 56-year-old Taipei-born billionaire businessman and philanthropist promoted Keia Clarke to the position last week — making her the first chief executive officer in the team’s history. The WNBA veteran became the third black woman to currently be in charge of a franchise in the league, joining Los Angeles Sparks president
LEAVING IT LATE: Rakuten added late runs last night to add to wins on Wednesday against the Brothers and the Lions on Friday that went down to the last batter The Rakuten Monkeys rallied to post three late runs for another close win, prevailing 5-3 over the Uni-President Lions yesterday as Taiwan’s second-half CPBL season got started with lower scoring output, but exciting finishes. It was Rakuten’s third win in a row. In two games this week, they seized victory in dramatic fashion with their last at-bat and have drawn level with the CTBC Brothers on top of the table after yesterday’s results, 0.5 games in front of the Fubon Guardians and 1.5 games ahead of the Lions. It was tied at 1-1 early, with Rakuten hosting the Lions at the Taoyuan Intenational
MONEY MATTERS: While COVID-19 played a major role in the decision, the CTBA also found it hard to secure sponsorship, and ticket sales would have been affected The Yonex Taipei Open badminton tournament has been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic and a funding shortfall, the CTBA said yesterday. This was the first time that the tournament, a Badminton World Federation (BWF) World Tour Super 300-level competition, has been canceled since it began in 1980. The Taipei Open has been held annually since 1980. The tournament was to be played at the Taipei Arena from Sept. 1 to Sept. 6, with total prize money of US$500,000. The CTBA said that it was deeply concerned about whether the Taipei Open would proceed as scheduled after the BWF announced changes