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Friday, Feb. 5, 2010

Rondo's performance cools off Heat

BOSTON (AP) Even without Paul Pierce, the Boston Celtics had too much for Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat.

Rajon Rondo had 22 points and 14 assists, Kevin Garnett had a season-high nine assists, and Tony Allen made a key steal in the final minute to help the Celtics beat the Heat 107-102 on Wednesday night.

Pierce watched from the bench in street clothes after spraining his left foot Monday night. Garnett played in just his seventh game after missing 10 because of a knee injury. And backup guard Marquis Daniels missed his 27th straight game with a thumb injury that required surgery.

"It plays with the rhythm of your team," Garnett said. "For the most part, we haven't even been at full strength."

Allen started in place of Pierce, Boston's leading scorer, and stripped the ball from Wade near the Miami free-throw line with 37 seconds left. He was fouled and made both shots for a 99-94 lead. That forced the Heat to foul and the Celtics scored their last eight points on free throws, five by Ray Allen, to improve to 31-16, best in the Atlantic Division.

"I just reached my left hand out there and got the steal, hit the two free throws, and that was the game," Tony Allen said.

Wade led the Heat with 30 points and 13 assists but committed six turnovers.

"We went through a stretch where we didn't hit enough shots," he said. "We fought back, but we gave up too wide of a gap."

Rondo was the main reason the Celtics held off the Heat.

He hit a 3-pointer at the 24-second buzzer to make it 60-58 early in the third quarter and the Celtics never trailed after that, although Miami stayed close. Boston won its second straight game after losing three in a row, while Miami lost for the fifth time in six games.

Allen scored 23 points, and Garnett added 14. Rafer Alston and Udonis Haslem each scored 15 for Miami.

The Celtics continually found the open man, getting 29 assists on 37 field goals.

"It was contagious," Rondo said. "We shared the ball tonight and played very unselfishly."

The last time the teams met, the Celtics won 112-106 on Jan. 6 after Rondo's layup on a pass from Pierce a split-second before the fourth-quarter buzzer sent the game into overtime. Rondo finished that game with 25 points.

Pierce missed the rematch after being hurt in a 99-88 win at Washington and is expected to sit out at least one more game.

Thunder 103, Hornets 99

In New Orleans, Kevin Durant scored 30 points, and Russell Westbrook had 26 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds for Oklahoma City.

Mavericks 110, Warriors 101

In Dallas, Jason Terry had 21 points, Dirk Nowitzki scored nine of his 20 points in the fourth quarter and Dallas extended Golden State's losing streak to seven games.

76ers 106, Bulls 103 (OT)

In Philadelphia, Elton Brand scored 26 points, and Andre Iguodala had 25 points, eight rebounds and eight assists in a comeback victory.

Raptors 108, Nets 99

In Toronto, Chris Bosh scored 20 points, Sonny Weems set career highs with 14 points and 11 rebounds and the short-handed Raptors improved to 5-1 in its last six games.

Knicks 107, Wizards 85

In New York, Nate Robinson scored 23 points, and David Lee had 22 points and 10 rebounds to help the Knicks snap a three-game losing streak.

Hawks 103, Clippers 97

In Atlanta, Joe Johnson scored 34 points, Jamal Crawford added 22, and the Hawks overcame a nine-point, fourth-quarter to improve to 20-5 at home.

Spurs 115, Kings 113

In Sacramento, George Hill had 23 points and nine assists, and Tim Duncan added 22 points and 13 rebounds for San Antonio.

Suns 109, Nuggets 97

In Denver, Amare Stoudemire had 20 points and 17 rebounds, and Phoenix matched a season high with its fourth straight victory.

Jazz 118, Trail Blazers 105

In Salt Lake City, Deron Williams had 13 points and 13 assists, and rookie Wesley Matthews had 16 points on 6-for-6 shooting in Utah's seventh straight victory.

Lakers 99, Bobcats 97

In Los Angeles, Andrew Bynum had 17 points and 14 rebounds, Lamar Odom scored 19 points and Phil Jackson became the winningest coach in Lakers history.

Paul set for surgery

NEW ORLEANS (AP) New Orleans point guard Chris Paul will have knee surgery and likely miss the All-Star Game.

Hornets coach Jeff Bower said Paul will have surgery Thursday to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee. The All-Star weekend is Feb. 12-14 in Dallas.

Although Paul is likely to be sidelined for up to a month, Bower wouldn't give a timetable for his return.

"We are anticipating a very successful process," Bower said Wednesday. "We look forward to his return to action at some point later on. The time frame will be determined after the surgery. I won't speculate on that."



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