Celtics Back on Top With 92-80 Victory Over Pacers

The victory left the Celtics and (48-18) with the same record in the race for home-court advantage through the conference finals. Boston had lost three of four to fall out of the top spot.

Josh McRoberts had 14 points and 11 rebounds for Indiana. Tyler Hansbrough, who had back-to-back career highs in a pair of victories against the this week, was 4 for 14, scoring 10 and grabbing 11 rebounds.

Paul Pierce scored 20 for Boston and Rajon Rondo had eight assists but struggled from the floor for the second straight game. The Celtics point guard was 1 for 10 in a loss to New Jersey on Monday, and he was 0 for 2 and scoreless against Indiana.

Danny Granger scored 15 one night after hitting a go-ahead jumper with 0.3 seconds left to help the Pacers sweep the home-and-home series with the Knicks following a six-game losing streak and move into the eighth and final playoff spot in the East. But they fell to 0-3 this season against Boston, a potential first-round playoff opponent.

Paul George scored 15 points and Darren Collison had 10 points and nine assists for the Pacers.

Indiana opened a 17-9 lead in the first, but the Celtics cut it to five points at the end of the quarter. Trailing 23-18 early in the second, Boston scored eight straight points — seven of them by Green; the Celtics added a 15-2 run later in the second quarter to open a 13-point lead.

Notes: The Celtics honored announcers Tommy Heinsohn and Mike Gorman before the game for 30 years together — the longest run for a broadcasting tandem in NBA history. There was also a video from commissioner . … Delonte West returned after missing eight games with a sprained right ankle. He played 17 minutes and scored two points. … Indiana shot 37.5 percent from the floor.

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Rose Has 36 Points as Bulls Beat Celtics

Rose set career highs for free throws made and attempted with a 15-for-19 performance from the line, driving by Rajon Rondo time and time again before drawing contact inside.

“It hurts, definitely, running into a brick wall,” Rose said of his collisions with the Boston big men , who finished with five fouls, and , who had four.

“From the start of the game to the end of the game, he was aggressive,” Bulls Coach Tom Thibodeau said of Rose. “He was taking the contact on tonight and he was getting calls.”

The Celtics had won four in a row and five of seven. But the Bulls, trying to avoid a third straight loss, grabbed control with a 9-1 run that started at the end of the third quarter. Boozer capped the spurt with a jumper that gave Chicago a 73-65 lead.

Rose carried the Bulls from there. He hit consecutive jumpers with five minutes left to extend the lead to double digits. He heard chants of “M.V.P.! M.V.P.!” from the United Center crowd in the final minute when he made a 3-pointer to make it 90-77.

“He took on the challenge of going against Rondo,” Boozer said of Rose. “He loves challenges like that.”

115, NETS 92 Chris Douglas-Roberts celebrated his birthday by scoring 24 points against his former teammates to lead visiting Milwaukee, which ended a three-game losing streak and beat for the sixth straight time. The Bucks, the ’s worst shooting team at 41.3 percent from the field, shot a season-best 58.3 percent and had a season high in points despite playing without center Andrew Bogut, who was sidelined with a viral infection.

Kris Humphries scored a season-high 22 points for the Nets. Brook Lopez failed to take advantage of Bogut’s absence and had 5 points and a rebound.

HAWKS 108, 93 Josh Smith scored 14 of his 27 points in the fourth quarter and Joe Johnson added 24 points as host Atlanta won its fourth in a row. Indiana seemed flat less than 24 hours after blowing an 11-point lead in the fourth quarter against San Antonio.

MAGIC 117, 107 had 23 points and 13 rebounds and visiting Orlando extended the league’s longest active winning streak to nine. DeShawn Stevenson scored a season-high 24 points for Dallas, which was without for a seventh straight game; he has a sprained right knee.

103, 99 Paul Millsap scored 12 of his 27 points in overtime for Utah, which trailed by as many as 16 points in the first half at Houston. The Jazz has come back to win 12 times this season after trailing by at least 10. Al Jefferson added 24 points and 13 rebounds.

104, 89 Charlotte kept Washington winless (0-18) on the road. Stephen Jackson scored 21 points for the Bobcats, who pulled away in the fourth quarter to improve to 3-2 under the interim coach Paul Silas.

THUNDER 109, GRIZZLIES 100 Kevin Durant scored 40 points and Russell Westbrook added 22 points and 11 assists for host Oklahoma City. Zach Randolph had 27 points and 16 rebounds for Memphis.

112, 109 Austin Daye made a game-tying 3-pointer with 3.5 seconds left in regulation and host Detroit went on to win in overtime. Philadelphia nearly rallied from a 7-point deficit in the final 20 seconds of overtime, but an off-balance shot at the end by Jodie Meeks bounced off the rim.

NO FINE FOR MOZGOV The N.B.A. said it would have no further punishment for the reserve center Timofey Mozgov, who drew a flagrant foul and an automatic ejection for elbowing the ’ Robin Lopez late in Friday’s victory.

Mozgov began the season as the team’s starting center, but has since tumbled from Coach ’s rotation. He recently returned from a shin injury and has not played more than 11 minutes since Nov. 20.

Also, the Knicks practiced without Amar’e Stoudemire, who remained in Phoenix after Friday’s game to spend time with his family. Stoudemire was scheduled to join the Knicks in Los Angeles on Saturday night. JONATHAN ABRAMS

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Rookie Harangody Leads Celtics Over Raptors

BOSTON (AP) — Rookie Luke Harangody had career highs with 17 points and 11 rebounds for his first NBA double-double, and the earned the 3,000th victory in franchise history, beating the 122-102 on Friday night.

Harangody, a rookie from Notre Dame, had never played more than 16 minutes in a game. He got in early for the short-handed Celtics and had doubled his career high for points (four) by the end of the first quarter. His previous highs for rebounds was also four.

Paul Pierce scored 20 and Ray Allen added 17 for Boston, which tied a season high for points in a half with 67 in the first and never let the Raptors get closer than 12 in the second half.

DeMar DeRozan led Toronto with 20 points. Toronto has lost four of five and seven of nine despite shooting well (40 for 79) on Friday. But the Celtics outscored the Raptors 54-44 in the paint and outrebounded them 43-31.

The Raptors got as close as 13 in the third and were down 87-73 after two foul shots by Amir Johnson before Harangody helped quickly rebuild Boston’s lead. Pierce made two free throws to put the Celtics up 89-73, then Harangody blocked a layup attempt by Ed Davis and rumbled back to the Celtics’ end to score on his own layup with 1:53 left in the third.

Andrea Bargnani got Toronto within 98-86, but that was as close as the Raptors would come. The Celtics scored the next 10 points during a 15-1 run that sealed the victory and a 3-1 win for the Celtics in the season series.

Allen started it with a 3-pointer, Harangody hit an 18-footer and Nate Robinson took a steal in for a layup to put Boston ahead 109-86. Harangody showed some agility a few minutes later when he drove under the basket and banked in a reverse layup to put Boston up 113-87.

Fans reveled in the rookie’s career night and chanted “Luuuuke!” throughout the game.

Notes: All five Toronto starters scored in double figures. Linas Kleiza and Bargnani had 17 apiece. Jose Calderon scored 11 and Johnson added 10. … Coach said before the game that could return to the lineup as early as next week. The Celtics are 5-1 since the star forward went out with a right calf injury. … Friday’s win gave Rivers 308 with the Celtics, tying him with K.C. Jones for third on the franchise list — still a long way from Red Auerbach’s 795. … The Celtics also scored 67 points in the second half of their victory over the on Dec. 15.

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