Celtics hold off Clippers

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Boston's Paul Pierce runs into Los Angeles' Lamar Odom while attempting to deliver a pass Sunday.  STEVEN SENNE/ASSOCIATED PRESS
STEVEN SENNE/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Boston's Paul Pierce runs into Los Angeles' Lamar Odom while attempting to deliver a pass Sunday.

BOSTON — Paul Pierce scored 22 points and the Boston Celtics held off a late comeback to beat the Los Angeles Clippers 106-104 on Sunday and improve to 4-0 since losing Rajon Rondo for the season.

The Clippers had cut a five-point deficit to 103-101 on a 3-pointer by Eric Bledsoe with 56 seconds remaining. But Avery Bradley drew an offensive foul on Los Angeles’ Jamal Crawford with 26 seconds to go, and Pierce held on to the ball before making a 3-pointer with 2.5 second left to clinch the win.

The teams played without the point guards voted starters in the All-Star Game in Houston on Feb. 17 – the Clippers’ Chris Paul and Rondo.

HEATS 100, RAPTORS 85

In Toronto, LeBron James scored 30 points, Chris Bosh had 28 against his former team and Miami earned its 10th consecutive victory over the Raptors.

Dwyane Wade added 23 points as the Heat bounced back after Friday’s 102-89 loss at Indiana. Rudy Gay led the Raptors with 29 points and DeMar DeRozan had 27. Kyle Lowry scored 10 points and Aaron Gray had 12 rebounds for the Raptors, who have lost four of five.

James finished with team highs of eight rebounds and seven assists. Bosh scored 13 in the fourth quarter as Miami improved to 12-11 on the road.

LAKERS 98, PISTONS 97

In Auburn Hills, Mich., Pau Gasol had 23 points and 10 rebounds and was the last line of defense for Los Angeles, contesting Detroit’s last-second alley-oop attempt and helping the Lakers hold off the Pistons.

Los Angeles blew an 18-point third-quarter lead but went back ahead for good on Kobe Bryant’s driving three-point play with 1:09 remaining. That gave the Lakers a 98-95 lead, and they held on despite missing four free throws in the final 16.8 seconds.

The normally reliable Steve Nash missed two with 2.7 seconds left, giving Detroit one more chance. Inbounding from midcourt with 1.2 seconds to play, the Pistons tried a lob to rookie big man Andre Drummond, but with Gasol contesting the play, Drummond couldn’t convert his one-handed dunk attempt.


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