Setting aside injuries and cold shooting, the Boston Celtics won their 14th NBA game in a row on Wednesday, holding off Philadelphia 84-80 thanks in part to 22 points from Ray Allen.
The Celtics improved to 23-4, the best mark in the Eastern Conference and second only to San Antonio’s 25-3, as they chase the club’s all-time record of 19 wins in a row, set by the 2007-2008 team that went on to win an NBA title.
Boston have triumphed despite missing guard Rajon Rondo for six of the 14 games, reserve Delonte West missing the past 12 games, center Shaquille O’Neal for four games and big man Kendrick Perkins for the entire season.
Celtics coach Doc Rivers marvels at how his team has adjusted to injuries, especially losing Rondo, Boston’s top assist distributor before being sidelined.
“Usually when you’re on a winning streak, everybody is healthy, everybody is playing well and you’re rolling,” Rivers said. “You could make the case it is the opposite with us.”
O’Neal scored 13 points and grabbed nine rebounds, but missed two free throws with 62 seconds to play and the 76ers still within two points.
However, Philadelphia’s Andre Iguodala committed a turnover and had a shot blocked by Kevin Garnett, setting the stage for two Allen free throws with 5.6 seconds remaining to seal the 76ers’ fate.
PISTONS 115, RAPTORS 93
At Toronto, Richard Hamilton scored a season-high 35 points, Rodney Stuckey had 21 and Detroit beat Toronto to end a five-game losing streak against the Raptors.
The Pistons fell one point shy of matching a season high and ended an eight-game road skid, winning away from home for the first time since Nov. 14 at Sacramento.
Charlie Villanueva had 18 points and former Raptors star Tracy McGrady added a season-high 17 for the Pistons. Leandro Barbosa had 21 points for Toronto.
In other games it was:
‧ Spurs 109, Nuggets 103
‧ Jazz 112, Timberwolves 107
‧ Bulls 87, Wizards 80
‧ Knicks 112, Thunder 98
‧ Hawks 98, Cavaliers 84
‧ Rockets 97, Clippers 92
‧ Hornets 105, Nets 91