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Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2012

Thunder deal Celtics fifth straight loss


BOSTON — Russell Westbrook hit a 3-pointer and then shimmied his hands down his torso, bent his body at the knees and strutted down the sideline in celebration.

News photo
Fall back, baby: Dirk Nowitzki of the Mavericks puts up a fadeaway over Pau Gasol of the Lakers in the first half on Monday night. Los Angeles beat Dallas 73-70. AP

Just 39 seconds later — this time with less than a minute left in the game — he did it all over again.

Westbrook scored 26 points, including two of Oklahoma City's four 3-pointers in the final 2 minutes, to help the Thunder beat the slumping Boston Celtics 97-88 on Monday night. Kevin Durant scored 28 with seven rebounds for Oklahoma City, which won its seventh consecutive game.

"They started doubling K.D. later in the game," Westbrook said. "I just tried to be aggressive and find my open spots."

Paul Pierce scored 24 points, Kevin Garnett had 12 points and 12 rebounds and Jermaine O'Neal had 12 points and 11 boards for Boston. Rajon Rondo scored 12 points with nine rebounds and nine assists for Boston, which lost a fifth straight game for the first time in the New Big 3 era.

"None of us likes to lose; that's the frustrating part," Pierce said. "I think I like where we are headed, there are just little things that are really killing us."

After trailing by 10 points to start the fourth quarter, the Celtics cut the deficit to two before Durant hit a 3 that made it 81-76 with 4:42 left. Garnett made a pair of free throws, then Durant threw down a tomahawk dunk.

Oklahoma City then hit four 3-pointers in a row — one from Thabo Sefolosha, two from Westbrook and another from Sefolosha that made it 95-85 with 24 seconds left. The Thunder were 2-for-11 from 3-point range in the first three quarters and 5-for- 8 in the fourth.

Kendrick Perkins had seven points and five rebounds in his first game back in Boston since the trade that sent him to Oklahoma City and broke up the starting lineup from the Celtics' 2008 NBA championship team.

Lakers 73, Mavericks 70

In Los Angeles, Derek Fisher hit a tiebreaking 3-pointer with 3.1 seconds to play and the Lakers survived a dismal offensive game by both teams for a victory over Dallas, snapping the Mavs' five-game winning streak.

Vince Carter missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer for the defending champions, who swept Los Angeles out of the second round of the postseason last spring, ending the Lakers' bid for a three-peat.

Neither team looked much like a championship contender in their first meeting since, with 3½ miserable offensive quarters before the exciting finish.

Fisher scored 13 points and led a 10-0 run midway through the fourth quarter, but the Mavericks rallied to tie it on Jason Terry's running jumper at the top of the key with 9.9 seconds left.

Kobe Bryant, whose streak of four straight 40-point games ended with just 14 with seven assists against the Mavs, drew the Dallas defense before passing to Fisher. The veteran point guard calmly drilled a long 3-pointer from the wing.

Carter's desperation try was far off, and the Lakers celebrated their ninth consecutive home victory since Christmas.

Andrew Bynum had 17 points and 15 rebounds for Los Angeles, which has won six of seven overall despite barely scoring 70 points — the franchise low in the shot-clock era, set in November 2002.

76ers 94, Bucks 82

In Philadelphia, Jrue Holiday scored 24 points and Andre Iguodala had 21 to help the 76ers beat Milwaukee and remain unbeaten at home.

Magic 102, Knicks 93

In New York, Ryan Anderson scored a career-high 30 points, extending his NBA lead with seven 3-pointers, and Orlando completed a perfect four-game road trip.

Carmelo Anthony had 33 points and eight rebounds for the Knicks.

Clippers 101, Nets 91

In Los Angeles, Blake Griffin had 23 points and 14 rebounds and the Clippers beat New Jersey without injured point guard Chris Paul after blowing an 18-point lead.

Grizzlies 102, Bulls 86

In Memphis, Rudy Gay scored 24 points and Mike Conley added 20 points and eight assists to help the Grizzlies end short-handed Chicago's five-game winning streak.

Rockets 114, Wizards 106

In Washington, Kevin Martin scored 25 points, Samuel Dalembert added 20 and Houston broke away in the third quarter to beat the Wizards.

John Wall scored a career-high 38 points on 13 of 22 shooting for Washington. He began the game making under 35 percent this season.

Cavaliers 102, Bobcats 94

In Charlotte, Kyrie Irving had 25 points and seven assists to lead Cleveland.

Trail Blazers 84, Hornets 77

In New Orleans, LaMarcus Aldridge scored 22 points and Portland snapped a three-game skid.

Hawks 93, Raptors 84

In Atlanta, Josh Smith scored 28 points and pulled down a season-high 15 rebounds and Joe Johnson added 27 points to help the Hawks win their third straight game.

Timberwolves 99, Kings 86

In Minneapolis, Kevin Love had 33 points and 11 rebounds and Luke Ridnour added 25 points and nine assists to lead the hosts over Sacramento.

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