LOS ANGELES — Dwight Howard had 24 points and 12 rebounds in helping the Los Angeles Lakers to an emotional 113-99 victory over the Boston Celtics on Wednesday night in their first game since the death of owner Jerry Buss.
Kobe Bryant added 16 points, Steve Nash and Earl Clark had 14 apiece, and Metta World Peace 12 in a game that surely would have delighted Buss, who always loved to win but especially liked beating the Celtics.
The Lakers won their most recent NBA championship — and last under Buss — in 2010, defeating the Celtics 4-3 in the finals. Buss died Monday at 80 after an 18-month struggle with cancer that had forced him to watch his team's games on TV or an iPad instead of from his suite above the Staples Center court.
Paul Pierce scored 26 points for the Celtics, who fell to 8-17 on the road and lost their third in a row away from home. Courtney Lee added 20 points and Kevin Garnett had 12 on 6-of-14 shooting.
Howard's performance in the Lakers' first game since the All-Star break came on the eve of the NBA trade deadline. He has been the subject of rumors, but general manager Mitch Kupchak said this week that Howard wouldn't be going anywhere.
He was among seven Lakers in double figures on a night when they shot 51 percent, dominated the paint 54-30 and were 22 of 31 from the free throw line for one of the most complete games they've played in months.
PACERS 125, KNICKS 91: At Indianapolis, Paul George scored 27 points and the Indiana Pacers powered their way closer to the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference. David West had 18 points and nine rebounds, and Lance Stephenson added 14 points for Indiana (33-21), which pulled within a half-game of the Knicks for second place in the East.
ROCKETS 122, THUNDER 119: At Houston, James Harden scored a career-high 46 points and Jeremy Lin added 29 as the Houston mounted a furious fourth-quarter comeback. Houston was down by 14 points with about seven minutes left. The Rockets used a 21-4 run to erase the deficit and take a 114-111 lead with 1:46 remaining. Harden stepped back under heavy pressure from Serge Ibaka to sink a 3 to tie it, before Lin connected on one seconds later to give the Rockets their first lead of the second half.
HEAT 103, HAWKS 90: At Atlanta, Miami scored the first 13 points of the fourth quarter to erase Atlanta's 10-point lead and the Heat, led by LeBron James' 24 points, extended their season-best winning streak to eight games. Dwyane Wade scored 20 points and Shane Battier had 17, hitting three 3-pointers in the final period.
NETS 97, BUCKS 94: At Milwaukee, Deron Williams scored 23 points and Brooklyn escaped after Monta Ellis missed on a chance to tie the game with three foul shots in the final seconds. The Bucks got to within 96-94 with 6 seconds left on a pair of baskets by Brandon Jennings.
GRIZZLIES 88, RAPTORS 82: At Toronto, Zach Randolph had 17 points and 18 rebounds, Mike Conley scored 17 points and Memphis won its fifth straight. Toronto's Rudy Gay came up short against his former team as the Raptors had their five-game winning streak ended.
CAVALIERS 105, HORNETS 100: At Cleveland, Kyrie Irving scored 20 of his 35 points in the fourth quarter to lead Cleveland. Irving was coming off an impressive showing at All-Star weekend in Houston and scored 11 consecutive points for the Cavaliers as they broke away from an 83-all tie in the final 4:23.
MAVERICKS 111, MAGIC 96: At Dallas, Shawn Marion and Elton Brand scored 17 apiece, Vince Carter again provided a spark off the bench and Dallas beat Orlando.
TIMBERWOLVES 94, 76ERS 87: At Minneapolis, Nikola Pekovic had 27 points and tied a career high with 18 rebounds to power Minnesota. Derrick Williams had 17 points and eight rebounds and Andrei Kirilenko added 15 points and five assists in his return from a thigh injury for the Timberwolves, who won for the fourth time in their last 20 games.
PISTONS 105, BOBCATS 99: At Charlotte, N.C., Greg Monroe scored 10 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter, stepping up with Brandon Knight on the bench nursing a hyperextended right knee, to lead Detroit. Knight had 21 points before injuring his knee late in the third quarter.
WARRIORS 108, SUNS 98: At Oakland, Calif., Klay Thompson had 28 points and eight rebounds, David Lee finished with 19 points and 11 boards and the Golden State Warriors snapped a season-high, six-game losing streak. Jarrett Jack added 21 points off the bench and Stephen Curry scored 20, with both making some key shots late to secure Golden State's first victory in almost three weeks.
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