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Tuesday, Dec. 21, 2010

Pierce, Celtics roll to 13th straight win

BOSTON (AP) Rest up, Rajon Rondo.

News photo
Degree of difficulty: Lakers guard Kobe Bryant looks to take a shot as Raptors forward Julian Wright defends during Sunday's game in Toronto. AP PHOTO

The Boston Celtics showed they can still keep the ball moving even without the NBA's assist leader, getting a triple-double from Paul Pierce while holding off the Indiana Pacers 99-88 on Sunday to extend their winning streak to 13 straight.

Pierce had 12 assists and Ray Allen added six more as the Celtics played their second straight game without Rondo, who is out for a couple of weeks with a sprained left ankle.

"That's the point we make with this team. When the ball moves, there's assists," Boston coach Doc Rivers said. "Guys are going to get assists and they're getting that."

Pierce added 18 points and 10 rebounds to go with his dozen assists. It was the sixth regular-season triple-double of Pierce's career and seventh overall. He last accomplished the feat March 8, 2006, against Philadelphia, which visits Boston on Wednesday.

"I pride myself in trying to be a complete player," Pierce said. "Throughout the course of my career I've worked on a lot of things on both sides of the ball."

Nate Robinson started for Rondo and scored 18 points. Allen finished with 17 points and Shaquille O'Neal, who had missed four straight games with a sore right calf, returned with 11 points, including a monster dunk off a long lob from Pierce.

"Shaq is a big guy. When he looks up, I get his head nod and he says 'throw it to the rim' — that's what I try to do," Pierce said. "He doesn't have to jump too high to dunk the ball, so I just try to put it right next to the rim."

The only Boston starter not to score in double figures was Kevin Garnett, and he had a solid nine points and nine rebounds.

The Celtics, who improved to 12-1 at home, are looking pretty deep.

"They can be beat, but you have to play a near-perfect game," said Indiana's Danny Granger, who had a team-high 19 points. "I think the Celtics are more talented than those other teams across the board. They probably have 40 years of All-Star games between (them)."

Lakers 120, Raptors 110

In Toronto, Kobe Bryant scored 20 points, Pau Gasol had 19 and Los Angeles won its fifth straight game. Andrew Bynum had 16 points and Shannon Brown 14 for the Lakers, who finished a seven-game road trip at 6-1 and have won eight of nine overall.

The Raptors' Linas Kleiza matched his season-high with 26 points and had 10 rebounds. DeMar DeRozan scored 23 points while Jose Calderon had 20 points and 12 assists.

Nets 89, Hawks 82

In Newark, N.J., Devin Harris had 22 points and eight assists, and Brook Lopez added 16 points for the hosts.

It marked the second straight time that the Nets (8-20) beat Atlanta (17-12) in Newark this season, having earned a 107-101 overtime victory Nov. 23.

Mike Bibby scored 19 points, while Al Horford and Josh Smith added 15 apiece for the Hawks.

Pistons 111, Hornets 108 (OT)

In Auburn Hills, Mich., Will Bynum made a driving layup with 7.4 seconds left in overtime to lift Detroit.

Rockets 102, Kings 93

In Sacramento, Kevin Martin scored 22 points and Houston won for the fourth time in five games.

Francisco Garcia and Tyreke Evans scored 14 points each for the Kings, who have the NBA's worst record at 5-20.

Suns 113, Thunder 110

In Oklahoma City, Grant Hill scored a season-high 30 points and had 11 rebounds, Steve Nash added 20 points and 10 assists and short-handed Phoenix snapped Oklahoma City's five-game winning streak.

The Suns let a 13-point lead slip away but were able to recover and take the lead for good on Robin Lopez's right-handed dunk with 6:45 left.

Kevin Durant led the Thunder with 28 points.

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