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Friday, Dec. 24, 2010

Celtics top 76ers for 14th straight

BOSTON (AP) There's something about the Boston Celtics' 14-game winning streak that doesn't seem quite right to coach Doc Rivers.

News photo
Swoop to the hoop: Boston's Ray Allen goes up for a shot in front of Philadelphia's Jodie Meeks on Wednesday night. The Celtics beat the 76ers 84-80. AP PHOTO

Point guard Rajon Rondo, after getting off to the best start of his career, has missed six of the 14 wins. Backup Delonte West missed the last 12. Shaquille O'Neal sat out four. Jermaine O'Neal hasn't played since the winning streak began.

And Kendrick Perkins, the starting center on last season's Eastern Conference champions, hasn't gotten on the floor all season.

"Usually, when you're on a winning streak, everybody's healthy, everybody's playing well and you're rolling," Rivers said Wednesday night after the Celtics beat the Philadelphia 76ers 84-80 for their 14th win in a row. "You could make the case it's the opposite with us."

Ray Allen scored 22 points, and Paul Pierce recovered after missing his first seven shots to score 11 with four key baskets in the second half.

Shaquille O'Neal had 13 points and nine rebounds, but he missed two free throws with 1:02 left and Boston nursing a two-point lead.

That gave Philadelphia two chances to tie it, but Andre Iguodala slipped and turned the ball over the first time and then had his shot blocked by Kevin Garnett the next.

Allen hit a pair of free throws with 5.6 seconds left to ice it.

Elton Brand had 16 points and 12 rebounds, and Jrue Holiday scored 15 points for Philadelphia, which was coming off its worst loss in three years — a 45-point loss to the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday night.

Spurs 109, Nuggets 103

In San Antonio, Manu Ginobili and Gary Neal scored 22 points apiece, and San Antonio beat Denver — playing without All-Star Carmelo Anthony because of the death of his sister — for its 10th straight victory.

Jazz 112, Timberwolves 107

In Minneapolis, Al Jefferson had 23 points, nine rebounds and seven blocks against his former team and Utah coach Jerry Sloan moved into sole possession of third place on the career victories list.

Sloan picked up victory No. 1,211, moving past Pat Riley into sole possession of third place on the career list.

Bulls 87, Wizards 80

In Washington, Carlos Boozer scored 30 points and Derrick Rose added 25 to help Chicago beat Washington for its ninth victory in 10 games.

Knicks 112, Thunder 98

In New York, Amare Stoudemire scored 23 points, Wilson Chandler added 21, and the Knicks ran past Oklahoma City to snap a three-game losing streak.

Pistons 115, Raptors 93

In Toronto, Richard Hamilton scored a season-high 35 points, Rodney Stuckey had 21 and Detroit beat the Raptors.

Hawks 98, Cavaliers 84

In Atlanta, Joe Johnson scored 23 points in his best game since his return from elbow surgery to lead the Hawks past Antawn Jamison and Cleveland.

Hornets 105, Nets 91

In New Orleans, Emeka Okafor had 21 points and 10 rebounds, Chris Paul added 12 points and 14 assists, and the Hornets ran past New Jersey.

Rockets 97, Clippers 92

In Los Angeles, Kevin Martin scored 28 points, including four free throws in the final 16 seconds, as Houston beat the Clippers.

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