Nets hold on to edge Heat

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NEW YORK — Paul Pierce and Joe Johnson scored 19 points each, and the Brooklyn Nets ended years of futility against the Miami Heat and sent the NBA champions to their first losing streak in 10 months with a 101-100 victory Friday night.

Pierce and Johnson both hit two free throws in the final seconds as the Heat were trying to pull off a comeback. Instead, they fell to 1-2 and have dropped consecutive games for the first time since Jan. 8 and 10.

The Heat got Dwyane Wade back after he missed Wednesday’s loss in Phila­delphia, and he scored 21 points. LeBron James led Miami with 26.

CELTICS: Despite trading away all their top stars – and their coach – in the off-season, the Boston Celtics still know how to please a crowd.

Boston Red Sox owners John Henry and Tom Werner brought the World Series trophy to center court before the Celtics’ home opener against Milwaukee on Friday night, which the Bucks won 105-98. They got a huge cheer from the Boston fans still giddy over Wednesday night’s victory over the St. Louis Cardinals.

The Celtics showed highlights from the World Series on the scoreboard while the Red Sox anthem “Tessie” blasted over the speakers.

Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo then came out to welcome the fans – wearing a fake beard, also in tribute to the Red Sox.

• Former Celtics star Bill Russell watched the unveiling of his statue Friday at City Hall Plaza. Team owners, NBA Commissioner David Stern, Gov. Deval Patrick and Mayor Thomas Menino were there, along with NBA greats Bill Walton, Charles Barkley and Julius Erving.

Russell played center from 1956 to 1969, also serving as player-coach for three seasons. During those years, the Celtics won 11 NBA titles.

Russell was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1975. Some believe the Boston honor was long overdue.

LAKERS: Kobe Bryant says he’s making steady progress in his injury recovery, although the Los Angeles star is likely still weeks away from a return to the court.

Bryant said Friday night he’s running on flat ground and improving the flexibility in his ankle.


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