Chicago’s Derrick Rose returned from injury to score 25 points and help the Bulls hold off a second-half Boston charge and beat the Celtics 88-79 in the NBA on Friday.
The Celtics had trimmed a 52-33 halftime deficit to 67-66 with 10 minutes left in the game. Then Boston missed their next two shots, while Rose scored four straight points. Kevin Garnett responded with a short jumper, but Rose came through again with a three-pointer for a decisive 74-68 lead with 7 minutes, 30 seconds remaining.
Rose, who missed Wednesday’s win over Washington with a sprained toe, scored 12 points after Boston had cut the lead to one.
Ray Allen scored 16 for Boston.
LAKERS 97, CAVALIERS 92
In Los Angeles, Kobe Bryant scored 42 points in his third straight 40-point performance as Los Angeles blew a big early lead before hanging on for their fifth straight victory, edging Cleveland.
Pau Gasol had 19 points and 10 rebounds for the Lakers, who won their eighth consecutive game at Staples Center since Christmas. Until Bryant took charge, Los Angeles allowed a 19-point lead to dwindle to three in the final minutes of coach Mike Brown’s first meeting with the Cavaliers since they fired him in 2010.
Bryant got just seven points in the fourth quarter but hit two late jumpers, giving him three straight 40-point games for the first time since 2006-2007, when he had five straight. He is third in NBA history with 110 40-point games, behind Wilt Chamberlain and Michael Jordan.
SPURS 99, TRAIL BLAZERS 83
In San Antonio, Tony Parker scored 20 points to help San Antonio beat Portland and stay unbeaten at home.
Parker shook off a slow start as the Spurs improved to 8-0 at home, their best start since the 2007-2008 season when they started 13-0.
Tiago Splitter scored 14 points for the Spurs.
LaMarcus Aldridge led Portland with 29 points. The Blazers lost veteran center Marcus Camby to a sprained ankle.
PACERS 95, RAPTORS 90
In Toronto, Tyler Hansbrough made two key free throws with less than 15 seconds to play as Indiana overcame the ejection of leading scorer Danny Granger to beat Toronto.
George Hill scored a season-high 22 points for the Pacers.
Rozan had 23 points for the Raptors, who have lost three straight.
MAVERICKS 102, BUCKS 76
In Dallas, Dirk Nowitzki surpassed 23,000 career points as Dallas cruised past Milwaukee to their fourth straight win.
Vince Carter had his highest-scoring game in Dallas, picking up 11 of his 16 points in the opening six-and-a-half minutes of the game.
Jason Terry scored 17 points for the defending NBA champion Mavericks, who are finally on a roll after an 0-3 start.
Brandon Jennings had 19 points for the Bucks, who are undefeated at home, but now have an NBA-worst seven road losses. Milwaukee were without Andrew Bogut, who was out because of concussion-like symptoms.
76ERS 120, WIZARDS 89
In Philadelphia, Jodie Meeks tied a career high with 26 points as Philadelphia had a comfortable win over Washington.
Lou Williams had 19 for the Sixers, who led by 34 points in the third quarter and crushed the NBA-worst Wizards. All five starters reached double-digit scoring for the Atlantic Division leaders, who improved to 5-0 at home.
While the Sixers dominated the entire game, the real damage was done in the third quarter. They made 16 of 23 shots from the floor and outscored the Wizards by 20.