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Sunday, Dec. 20, 2009

76ers rally past Celtics

BOSTON (AP) It's been a streak-busting week for the Philadelphia 76ers.

News photo
Return to sender: New York's Jonathan Bender blocks a shot by Baron Davis of the Clippers on Friday night at Madison Square Garden. The Knicks won 95-91. AP PHOTO

Days after snapping their own 12-game skid, the 76ers ended Boston's run at 11 wins, beating the first-place Celtics 98-97 on Friday night on Elton Brand's tip-in with 7.7 seconds left.

"We closed out a game against a team winning 11 in a row, the best in the league," said Brand, who had 23 points and eight rebounds. "It bodes well for our confidence."

The Sixers ran off 12 consecutive losses before beating Golden State on Monday — their sixth win of the season, none of them against teams with a winning record. They had won only once in their previous 14 games and they were without newly acquired Allen Iverson, who has arthritis in his left knee and had it drained twice this week.

So they didn't figure to pose much of a challenge to Boston, which hadn't lost in almost a month and came into the game tied for the best record in the NBA. The Celtics led by 15 points in the third quarter before Philadelphia took an 86-84 lead — its first since the opening minutes.

Brand tipped in Marreese Speights' missed jumper in the closing seconds, and Paul Pierce missed a jumper at the other end that would have put Boston ahead. Ray Allen was unable to get off a good shot after the rebound.

The Celtics fell to 8-4 at home. (They are 12-1 on the road.) In 2007-08, when they won their 18th NBA title, they were 35-6 at home and 31-10 on the road.

Kevin Garnett had 21 points and 10 rebounds for Boston. The Celtics played most of the game without Rasheed Wallace, who was ejected in the second quarter after drawing two technicals and having to be restrained by assistant coach Tom Thibodeau.

Wizards 118, Warriors 109

In Oakland, Gilbert Arenas had season-highs with 45 points and 13 assists and Washington ended a six-game losing streak.

Caron Butler added a season-high 28 points and 10 rebounds for the Wizards. Brendan Haywood scored 15 points to go with 12 rebounds and Antawn Jamison had 10 points and 10 rebounds.

Monta Ellis scored 30 points to lead the Warriors, who lost their fifth straight. Stephen Curry added a season-high 27 points, Corey Maggette had 23 and Anthony Randolph 15.

Cavaliers 85, Bucks 82

In Cleveland, LeBron James scored 26 points, Mo Williams added 17 and the Cavs won their fifth straight.

James finished with 10 rebounds and eight assists as Cleveland won its ninth straight home game before a four-game trip that includes a Christmas Day game against the Lakers.

Hornets 98, Nuggets 92

In New Orleans, Chris Paul had 30 points and a season-high 19 assists, and narrowly missed a triple-double with nine rebounds.

Paul scored 26 points in the second half, and with his assists combined for 41 of the Hornets' 52 points over the final two quarters.

Rockets 116, Mavs 108 (OT)

In Dallas, Kyle Lowry had a career-high 26 points and 10 assists as Houston ended the Mavericks' win streak at five games.

Knicks 95, Clippers 91

In New York, David Lee scored 17 of his 25 points in the second half to help the hosts erase a 20-point deficit.

Thunder 109, Pistons 98

In Oklahoma City, Kevin Durant scored 27 points, and a pair of rookies led the Thunder on a key run in the fourth quarter to snap a three-game losing streak.

Grizzlies 107, Pacers 94

In Memphis, Zach Randolph had 26 points and 16 rebounds, and O.J. Mayo added 20 points and six assists to lead the Grizzlies.

Hawks 96, Jazz 83

In Atlanta, Josh Smith scored 16 points, Marvin Williams added 15 and the Hawks won their sixth straight.

Raptors 118, Nets 95

In Toronto, Amir Johnson scored a season-high 18 points, and Chris Bosh had 16 points and eight rebounds as the Raptors routed New Jersey.

Timberwolves 112, Kings 96

In Minneapolis, Kevin Love put up 20 points and 16 rebounds, his fifth straight double-double and seventh in nine games since returning from a broken left hand.

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