Celtics 106, Clippers 104
Paul Pierce scored 22 points and host Boston held off a late comeback to beat Los Angeles on Sunday and improve to 4-0 since losing Rajon Rondo for the season.
The Clippers had pulled within 103-101 on a 3-pointer by Eric Bledsoe with 56 seconds remaining. But Avery Bradley drew an offensive foul on Los Angeles’ Jamal Crawford with 26 seconds to go, and Pierce held on to the ball before making a 3-pointer with 2.5 seconds left to clinch the win.
The teams played without the point guards voted starters in the All-Star Game in Houston on Feb. 17 — the Clippers’ Chris Paul and Rondo.
Jeff Green and Leandro Barbosa scored 14 points each for the Celtics. The Clippers were led by Bledsoe, replacing Paul, and Crawford, who made a 3-pointer at the buzzer, with 23 each.
It was the Celtics’ fourth game since Rondo tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. Paul sat out his seventh in a row with a bruised right kneecap. The Clippers have lost five of those, including their biggest setback and lowest scoring game of the season, 98-73 at Toronto on Friday night.
Heat 100, Raptors 85
LeBron James scored 30 points, Chris Bosh had 28 against his former team and Miami beat host Toronto for its 10th consecutive victory over the Raptors.
Dwyane Wade added 23 points as the Heat bounced back after Friday’s 102-89 loss at Indiana, ensuring their team Super Bowl viewing party would be a happy one.
Rudy Gay led the Raptors with 29 points and DeMar DeRozan had 27. Kyle Lowry scored 10 points and Aaron Gray had 12 rebounds for the Raptors, who have lost four of five.
James finished with team highs of eight rebounds and seven assists and Bosh scored 13 in the fourth quarter for Miami, which improved to 12-11 on the road.
Terrence Ross and DeRozan sandwiched 3-pointers around a hook shot by Bosh, bringing Toronto to within three at 84-81 with 5:22 left.
Lakers 98, Pistons 97
Pau Gasol had 23 points and 10 rebounds and was the last line of defense for Los Angeles, contesting Detroit’s last-second alley-oop attempt and helping the Lakers hold on for a victory over the host Pistons.
Los Angeles blew an 18-point third-quarter lead but went back ahead for good on Kobe Bryant’s driving three-point play with 1:09 remaining. That gave the Lakers a 98-95 lead, and they held on despite missing four free throws in the final 16.8 seconds.
The normally reliable Steve Nash missed two with 2.7 seconds left, giving Detroit one more chance. Down by one, the Pistons inbounded from midcourt with 1.2 seconds to play. They tried a lob to rookie big man Andre Drummond, but with Gasol contesting the play, Drummond couldn’t convert his one-handed dunk attempt.
The Lakers have won five of six, including their last two games without Dwight Howard. The All-Star center has been out with a right shoulder problem.