NBA Wrap: Celtics Notch Key Win Over Cavaliers

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BOSTON — The Boston Celtics beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 105-94 on Friday to get what could be a vital edge in the head-to-head record between the NBA Eastern Conference's two power teams.

Paul Pierce scored 29 points and reserve Leon Powe had 20 points and 11 rebounds for the Celtics.

The Cavaliers (48-13) lead Boston (49-14) in winning percentage .787 to .778, but the Celtics took a 2-1 lead in the head-to-head record with one game between them remaining this season. Should the teams finish level in win-loss record after the regular season, head-to-head record would be used to determine home court and other advantages in the playoffs.

Mo Williams scored 26 for Cleveland and LeBron James had 21, shooting just 5-of-15 from the field to go with 9-for-12 from the line. He spent the final minutes on the bench after the Cavaliers couldn't narrow a double-digit deficit.

Lakers 110, Timberwolves 90

In Los Angeles, the home team beat Minnesota to became the first side to reach 50 victories this season.

Kobe Bryant scored 23 points and Pau Gasol added 21, with both 5-for-5 from the line. Gasol grabbed a team-leading nine rebounds as the Lakers won their sixth in a row at home.

Minnesota dropped its eighth in a row and have also lost eight straight to the Lakers.

Jazz 97, Nuggets 91

In Salt Lake City, Utah rallied from a 19-point deficit to beat Denver and extend its winning streak to 10 games.

Deron Williams scored 12 of his 25 points in the third quarter and also had 11 assists — his 11th straight game with 10 or more.

The Jazz pulled within half a game of the Nuggets for the Northwest Division lead.

Rockets 116, Suns 112

In Houston, Aaron Brooks scored a career-high 30 points and drove past Shaquille O'Neal for the winning basket in Houston's victory over Phoenix.

The Rockets have won 11 straight home games.

O'Neal scored 17 points for the Suns on his 37th birthday.

Magic 105, Nets 102

In Orlando, Florida, Orlando rallied to edge New Jersey and notch a third consecutive victory.

Dwight Howard had 26 points and 15 rebounds for the Magic.

The Nets went 1-for-8 over the last 6:16, with Vince Carter missing a potential tying 3-pointer from the top of the key as time expired.

Bobcats 98, Hawks 91

In Charlotte, North Carolina, Charlotte built on a 36-21 first quarter to beat struggling Atlanta and bring up a franchise record-tying fifth straight victory.

The Bobcats continued their late-season surge that's put them into playoff contention. They took advantage of the bumbling Hawks, who played without starter Josh Smith in the second half after an argument with his coach at halftime.

Gerald Wallace scored 21 points to lead the Bobcats.

Bulls 117, Bucks 102

In Chicago, the hosts moved into the playoff-yielding eighth place in the East by beating Milwaukee.

Ben Gordon scored 34 points for the Bulls.

Heat 108, Raptors 102

In Toronto, Miami snapped a six-game losing streak against Toronto.

Dwyane Wade had 42 points, eight assists and six rebounds for the Heat. Wade shot 17-for-23 and topped 40 points for the fourth time in seven games. The NBA's leading scorer came in averaging 35.8 points since the All-Star break, also top in the league.

The Raptors have lost four straight.

Spurs 100, Wizards 78

In San Antonio, the hosts treated new addition Drew Gooden to a dominant performance against Washington.

Signed by the Spurs this week, Gooden sat on the bench in street clothes while resting a long-term groin injury. The Spurs said they may wait another week before debuting Gooden, who bought out his contract in Sacramento to become a free agent.

Tony Parker scored 19 points and Michael Finley had 12 for San Antonio.

Pistons 108, Warriors 91

In Auburn Hills, Michigan, Detroit made it four wins in a row by easing past Golden State.

Richard Hamilton scored 22 points for the Pistons, who got points from all 12 players

The Warriors lost for the fifth time in six games.
 

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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