Hawks soar past volatile Celtics
BOSTON — Three quick technical fouls by the Boston coaching staff added up to a third straight victory for Atlanta over the Celtics.
Hours after scratching Rasheed Wallace from the lineup, Celtics coach Doc Rivers did a fair impersonation of the volatile forward by drawing two quick technicals and an early exit. A third "T" — on soft-spoken assistant Armond Hill — handed the Hawks a four-point play and helped whittle away a 10-point deficit in a 102-96 victory last night.
"I think it started with the technicals," said Jamal Crawford, who made the three free foul shots on his way to 17 points in the game. "We got some free throws and easy points. Seeing the ball go through the basket gives you confidence."
The Celtics have lost only 10 games all season and three have been to Atlanta, which had lost seven straight to Boston coming into the season.
"In order to get to where we're trying to go in this league, we've got to go through Orlando, Boston and Cleveland," said Joe Johnson, who scored 36 points, including seven straight to erase a seven-point fourth-quarter deficit. "We've been pretty successful against Boston this year, but we've just got to try to get some wins down the stretch."
Al Horford had nine points and 12 rebounds for Atlanta, and Crawford scored the last six of the game. Mike Bibby had just five points and two assists in 18 minutes for the Hawks.
Nuggets 105, Timberwolves 94: Carmelo Anthony scored 24 points in his return from a knee injury, hitting consecutive 3-pointers midway through the fourth quarter for host Denver.
The All-Star forward, who is leading the NBA in scoring at 30 points per game, missed the previous five games after bruising his right knee Dec. 28 against Sacramento.
Pacers 105, Raptors 101: Danny Granger scored 23 points and host Indiana overcame a 23-point deficit to beat Toronto.
Troy Murphy had 20 points and 16 rebounds, A.J. Price scored 16 points and Mike Dunleavy added 15 for the Pacers.
76ers 96, Hornets 92: Andre Iguodala and Elton Brand scored 18 points each, Allen Iverson added 16 and Philadelphia snapped a four-game home losing streak.
Thaddeus Young and Lou Williams added 12 points each and Samuel Dalembert had six points, 14 rebounds and five blocks for the Sixers.
Cavaliers 117, Warriors 114: LeBron James had 37 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds and visiting Cleveland ran its winning streak against Golden State to four.
Shaquille O'Neal added 13 points and six rebounds, and three Cleveland reserves scored in double digits.
Bulls 120, Pistons 87: Luol Deng scored 27 points on 13-of-18 shooting and host Chicago handed Detroit its 13th consecutive loss.
The Pistons matched their longest skid since losing 13 straight to end the 1993-94 season.
Derrick Rose finished with 22 points on 11-of-13 shooting for the Bulls.
Jazz 118, Heat 89: Deron Williams had 23 points and 10 assists, and Carlos Boozer finished with 25 points and 11 rebounds as host Utah beat Miami for the first time in more than two years.
Mehmet Okur added 13 points and tied his career high with five blocks as the Jazz beat the Heat for the first time since December 2007.
Suns 105, Bucks 101: Steve Nash had 30 points and 11 assists to help Phoenix rally after blowing a 24-point lead and beat Milwaukee for the 22nd consecutive time at home.
Amare Stoudemire had 23 points and 10 rebounds for Phoenix, and Jason Richardson also scored 23.
Thunder 106, Knicks 88: Kevin Durant had 30 points and host Oklahoma City won for the eighth time in the last 10 games.
Durant has scored 30 or more points in nine of his last 11 games.