Nets beat Celtics to regain Eastern Conference lead

By The Associated Press

NEW YORK — Kyrie Irving just missed a triple-double despite an awful shooting night, Joe Harris scored 20 points and the Brooklyn Nets regained first place in the Eastern Conference with a 109-104 victory over the Boston Celtics on Friday night.

Irving had torched his former team for 77 points in 67 minutes in a pair of victories this season, but this time shot just 4 for 19, missing all six of his 3-pointers.

But he scored 15 points, including the finishing free throws with 1.6 seconds left, and added 11 assists, nine rebounds and four steals as the Nets finished a season sweep of the Celtics, just the third in their franchise history.

Jayson Tatum had 38 points and 10 rebounds but was doing it mostly alone in the first half, when he had 25 of the Celtics’ 51 points.

Payton Pritchard (22 points) and Marcus Smart (19) got it going after halftime and each added points, but the Celtics couldn’t overcome 19 turnovers that gave Brooklyn a whopping 32-0 advantage in fast-break points.

Both teams were without two of their three best players. Kevin Durant missed a third straight game with a bruised left thigh, remaining sidelined along with James Harden (right hamstring).

Jaylen Brown missed his second straight game with left shoulder bursitis, while Kemba Walker rested his left knee on the second night of Boston’s back-to-back after beating Phoenix on Thursday.

Clippers 109, Rockets 104

HOUSTON — Paul George had 33 points and 14 rebounds and Los Angeles shook off an 11-point third quarter to beat Houston for its fourth straight victory.

The Clippers were 5 of 22 from the field and 0 for 6 from 3-point range in the third to fall behind 80-76. Reggie Jackson hit three straight 3s early in the fourth as part of an 11-2 run that helped Los Angeles regain the lead. Jackson finished with 19 points.

John Wall had 27 points and 13 assists for Houston. Christian Wood had 24 points and 19 rebounds, and Kelly Olynyk 23 points and 10 rebounds.

The Rockets have lost eight of their last nine and 13 of their last 15. Houston is 4-34 since Feb. 4.

Wizards 129, Thunder 109

OKLAHOMA CITY — Russell Westbrook had another triple-double in his return to Oklahoma City, and Washington won its seventh straight.

Westbrook had 37 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists — his fourth straight triple-double and his 14th in 16 games. Westbrook has 174 triple-doubles in his career and is closing in on Oscar Robertson’s career record of 181. He has 28 triple-doubles this season.

Bradley Beal added 33 points for the Wizards.

Darius Bazley and Theo Maledon each scored 20 points for Oklahoma City. The Thunder have lost 13th straight.

Hawks 118, Heat 108

ATLANTA — Bogdan Bogdanovich scored 21 points, John Collins added 20 and injury-depleted Atlanta surprised Miami.

Atlanta played without its two best players, leading scorer Trae Young and NBA rebounding leader Clint Capela.

The Hawks, who began the game No. 5 in the Eastern Conference, improved to 33-27 after winning for the 10th time in their last 12 games against the Eastern Conference and 10th time in the last 13 overall.

Kendrick Nunn had 21 points for the Heat.

Hornets 108, Cavaliers 102

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Miles Bridges had 25 points and 10 rebounds and Charlotte overcame a 10-point second-half deficit to beat Cleveland.

P.J. Washington and Terry Rozier also each had 25 points for the Hornets.

Collin Sexton had 28 points for the Cavaliers.

By Jim Ellis